Boating for Beginners is a novel by Jeanette Winterson which belongs to post-modern literature and can be defined as a re-writing of the Bible. In her text, she uses a literary device called intertextuality in order to make comments on what she thinks is wrong in our modern society and for what reason. Intertextuality is one of the five transtextual relation types given by Genette. It is not something proper to post-modern literature; however, it is a constant feature in post-modern texts. According to Genette's definition, intertextuality is "a relation of co presence between two texts or among several texts" and "the actual presence of one text within another" (Graham Allen, Intertextuality, London, Routeledge, 2000, p.101), the presence of the other text can be presented either by a quotation, mimesis or allusion.
[...] As we can notice it, Jeanette Winterson makes numerous allusions to our contemporary modern world criticizing modern pains such as consumerism with the reference to “pizza and “supermarket” (Winterson, Jeanette, Boating for Beginners (1985), Minerva p 45) and materialism embodied by Noah who is a capitalist and can not afford to a charity” (Ibid., 115), he wants to make money no matter what it costs. Mechanization and profitability are part of the themes tackled, with the jobs of Noah and his three sons. [...]
[...] Not only does Jeanette Winterson changes the personality of these historical characters, she also changes the right order in which the biblical events occur; we learn that Noah is planning to re-write the biblical event of the Flood and make a film out of it. The setting recalls that of the Bible, we are in the state of Nineveh and Noah runs a boat company on the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates (Winterson, Jeanette, Boating for Beginners (1985), Minerva p.12). [...]
[...] But men are not the only ones to blame for women's voiceless ness, some of the female characters are also responsible for it. Jeanette Winterson uses physical mimesis to make the resemblance between the fictional Bunny Mix and the actual Barbara Cartland striking. Both wrote numerous novels using almost always the same plot and displaying heroines as stupid and passive women (Ibid 42). Bunny Mix's name is very interesting to study. Firstly, can be related to the female rabbit which makes babies all the time, hence the rapidity with which Bunny Mix writes her novels. [...]
[...] serious text into a comic one, then we will study the “Satire Parody” which stems from the use of parody as a moralizing element, and eventually, we will show how the presence of intertextuality mirrors the author's fragmented world, that is to say modern contemporary society. As a matter of fact, Jeanette Winterson uses the Bible, an old text, as a support for her post-modern novel. This literary concept is called intertextuality; the Bible is the “hypotext” and Boating for Beginners the “hypertext” (Genette, Gérard, Palimpseste, Paris, Editions du Seuil p.13). [...]
[...] 111) The image of Noah is totally false as well as that of God, this feeling is linked to the use of debunk: we learn that Noah accidentally created God which could be perceived as a joke of bad taste. A pun is also used , it is defined by Wikepedia as a “figure of speech which consists of a deliberate confusion of similar words or phrases for rhetorical effect, whether humorous or serious”: had better pack up your miserable belongings and prepare to be liquidated.” (Ibid. [...]
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