"The Passion" By. Jeanette Winterson

Essay by AydriannUniversity, Master's March 2004

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The book "The Passion" is a wonderful book that brings with it many themes. Female identity, gender roles, passion, love, gambling, religion and war. Passion is the main topic in this book; it is repeated over and over. The book seemed to be an investigation of the passion that arises in Villanelle and Henri's lives. "Somewhere between fear and sex. Somewhere between God and the Devil passion is and the way there is sudden and the way back is worse" (Winterson, p.68).

Villanelle is a strong independent woman who does not fit into the stereotypical role of women. Her character is not going to integrate male values and beliefs that society as a whole has put on women. Villanelle's character openly introduced the theme of feminine desire to the story. Being born with webbed feet is another way that Jeanette Winterson lets the reader know that Villanelle is not going to fit the stereotypical role of women.

This is because in the book only the Venetian men have webbed feet. The webbed foot is a symbol of the phallus. Villanelle now has a very masculine trait; this then takes her character away from male and female into an androgynous character.

With Villanelle stepping away from a "woman's role" there are still some instances where she is again reminded that women can not get away from the role that men have put them into. The first introduction to this is when Winterson tells the reader that even thought Villanelle was born with webbed feet to a family of fishermen, because she is a woman she can not take on fishing as an occupation. "I couldn't be a dancer, for obvious reasons, and what I would have most liked to have done, worked the boats, was closed to me on...