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Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal ?. By Jeanette Winterson Structural Analysis By Alberto De Meo. LITERARY GENRE. Memoir. Memoirs are representations of memory, not of history

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Why be happy when you could be normal

Why Be Happy WhenYouCouldBe Normal?

By Jeanette Winterson

Structural Analysis

By Alberto De Meo

Literary genre


  • Memoirs are representations of memory, not of history

  • The writer follows the emotional impact of the protagonist regarding some events that do not follows a chronological process

  • The narrator tellsabouthis life with emotionable story

  • A memoirisnot an autobiography

Ipothesis from the title

WHY  starts from a problem, a question

BE/COULD  question for anyone, theme of research

HAPPY  meaningful life, aim of all human being

NORMAL  actingregarding the norms, suppression of individualism


Dedicationpaves the way to the content.

The novelisdedicated to herthreemother:

  • C. Winterson: adoptedmother

  • Ruth Rendell: englishnovelist

  • Ann S. : herbiologicalmother or a lover


  • The text isorganizedinto 15 paragraph and a coda


  • Title: expectation, ipothesis

  • Content: find link between the otherchapters

  • Characterization: analysis of the characters

  • FIRST CHAPTER The WrongCrib

    Keyword: Wrong wrongchoice, idea of mistake. The protagonistintroduces the maintopic of the novel: heradoptive family and her life as an adoptedchild

  • SECOND CHAPTER My Advice To AnybodyIs: GetBorn

    GetBorn: wake up from the ordiarness and find out who a personreallyis; the narrator invites the reader to think

    Description of Manchester  shetellsaboutherroods

    Quotations: Engels from The Condition of the English Working Class in England

    Itispresented the apocalitic nature of Jeanette Winterson’smother

  • THIRD CHAPTER In The BeginningWas The World

    The titlerecalls the incipit of the Bible

    Keyword Word: itemphasizes the importance of the language. The importancerole of the languageis the center of the chapter.

    Quotation: Jeanette Wintersontakes a quotation from Oranges Are Not The OnlyFruit.

    The reader can understand the postmodernismpoint of view of the writer.

  • FOURTH CHAPTER The Trouble Of The Book…

    Keyword: Trouble C. Wintersonconsidersreadingas a rebellionact.

    Thischaptertells to the reader the protagonistand hermother’srelationship with books.

    J. Wintersoncreates an imaginaryatmosphere and shewrites with an ironictone.

    Dots are used to create expectation in the reader.

    Quotation: Dr Jekill and Mr. Hyde, Alice in Wonderland, A MidsummerNight’sDream


    Keyword  Home The writerconsiders home as a center of gravity and a place of orderbutshefeels out of place in it. Shediscovers a new home: books

    In thischaptersheexplainshow the home where a persongrows up influenceshis life.

    The reader can understandthat C. Wintersonis a powerfulcharacter and thereis an assimetricalrelationshipbetweenhermother and herfather


    Itis an importantplace for Jeanette. Itis a place of hope and help.

    In thischapter the novelistunderlines Mrs. Wintersonexaggeratingreligiosity. Sheobliges the novelist to submit an exorcism for herhomosexual nature.

  • SEVEN CHAPTER Accrington

    The novelistdescribesher small town, itsinhabitantsand itsshops.

  • EIGHTH CHAPTER The Apocalypse

    The titlesuggests to the reader a tragicevent in Jeanette Winterson’s life. MrsWintersondisownheradoptive-daughterbecausesheishomosexual.

    In thischapter the reader can find Mrs. Winterson’ beliefaboutreligion and a verydifferentmentality the novelist and heradoptive-mother.

    Thischapterdeals with the pursuit of happiness.

    From thischapteristaken the title of the novel «Why Be Happy WhenYouCould Be Normal»

    Definitive break-up of relantionship with heradoptive-mother

  • NINETH CHAPTER English Literature A-Z

    In thischapter the novelistunderlinesher love for readingparticularly for English literature.

    Sheconsiders books as«messages in a bottle» and as a friend who comfort her from the difficulties of her life.

  • TENTH CHAPTER ThisIs The Road

    The titleis a quotation from the previouschapter. The novelistquotes Gertrude Stein.

    Thischapterdeals with heradmission to Oxford university and with a reflectionabout woman society.


    Art  reference of Jeanette’ s university career and to herreflectionaboutliteratureas a form of art.

    Life in Oxford iscompared to a life in a library

    Lies Jeanette’suniversity tutor behaviourtowardher and womenand Mrs. Wintersoninhospitality.

    Thischapterdeals with Jeanette’s life atuniversity and with her last meeting with heradoptivemother.


    Reflectionabout art and life againstchronoligical time. Jeanette’spredilection for a life of emotionsnot of facts

  • TWELTH CHAPTER The Night Sea Voyage

    Night Darkness: dark secret isunvealed and ithasripercussion on Jeanette’s mood of life

    Sea Voyage metaphor of an importantdiscovery. Episod of Jeanette’s life

    Sheep DrawerTreasure Certificate

  • THIRTEENTH CHAPTERThisAppointmentTakesPlace In The Past

    Appointment multiple references: love affair with Susie, researchaboutadoption with root, last meeting with herfather and most of allappointment with herbiologicalmother.

  • FOURTEENTH CHAPTER Strange Meeting

    Keyword Strange. Mix of emotionsduringher first meeting with herbiologicalmother


    Wound mark, ithasdifferentmeanings to differentpeople. Jeanette Winterson, Mrs. Winterson and Anne werewounded.

    Reflections on hervoyagethrough time and finallyshefeelat home



    Sheis the narrator and the protagonist.

    The narrator tellsaboutherlife with emotionablestory and shedoesn’tfollow the chronologicalprocess of the eventsof her life.

    Jeanette’s life with heradoptiveparentswasoftenappalling, butit made her the writersheis.

    MrsWintersondominates the first half of the book asshedominatedJeanette’s life. The secondhalfiswritten in responce to anothermother-tumult: the novelist’ssearch of herbirthmother. Jeanette doesnotdenounceheradoptive-motherbutshewants to understandMrsWinterson with hercontradictions and eccentricities.


    At the center of the narrative is Mrs. Winterson. Sheis a powerfullcharacterbecauseshehasskills.

    The novelisttells the reader Mrs. Winterson’sideas, life-style and physicalappearance.

    Mrs. Wintersoneductes Jeanette on the basis of contempt for bodies, devotion to the principles of the Bible.

    The reader can understandthat C. Wintersonis a powerfulcharacter and thereis an assimetricalrelationshipbetweenhermother and herfather.

    Herfathershoveledcoalat night for a power station. His absencewashispresence