Original scientific paper
Janko Andrijašević, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6667-0010; Univerzitet Crne Gore
This paper represents an attempt to give a psycho-religious analysis of the character of Mrs. Winterson, who is the main protagonist of Jeanette Winterson’s debut novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (1985) and her memoir Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? (2011). Mrs. Winterson was the author’s adoptive mother, and was characterized by a pronouncedly idiosyncratic psychology. Here we will try to suggest that Mrs. Winterson had a personality disorder of the paranoid kind, based on the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Edition 5) psychiatric criteria for diagnosing this disorder. Every single criterion will be substantiated by instances and quotes from the two analyzed works. This personality pathology inevitably spilled over into the way she approached religion, practiced it, and imposed it on those around her, primarily on her adoptive daughter. Unlike with some other mental illnesses, it is very difficult to develop healthy religiosity in case one has a personality disorder, due to the proverbial lack of objective selfobservation and meaningful insight into one’s authentic personality. Nevertheless, Mrs. Winterson rigidly and intensely upheld the social and religious values of extremely dubious nature, and instilled them in her daughter. Such direct, strong, and essentially unwholesome parental influence was detrimental for the healthy development of Jeanette Winterson’s personality, which may be corroborated by both of her books, in which she described the same autobiographical story. The personality of Mrs. Winterson is dominant in both the novel and the memoir, an unmistakably idiosyncratic axis around which these two texts revolve, forcefully blurring the borders between the two genres.
Jeanette Winterson, Mrs. Winterson, paranoid personality disorder, paranoid religiosity, DSM-5, memoir