The Passion: Significance Of Churches

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Jeanette Winterson, an English author, was brought up in an incredibly religious setting and grew up surrounded by a mother who intended nothing but for Winterson to become a missionary. Winterson reacted to the environment she was raised in, in the opposite manner than what her parents had hoped for. Through this reaction Jeanette Winterson made it possible to look at and explore the religious dogmatism that was prevalent in her life, and in this exploration her literature was born. In Winterson’s book The Passion her Christian background is especially visible in the significance attributed to churches. Through the imagery of churches Winterson is able to convey her intensive religious upbringing, her conflicting religious views, and her creative literary depth. Winterson’s religious education and experience shows itself, although not always explicitly, throughout her book The Passion, and is apparent in both her description of churches and her description of church services. Through these two images that the author presents one acquires an inherent sense of community, nostalgia and belonging. Community is conveyed when, during mass Henri, the narrator, feels compelled to take communion and be one with the people in the church. “The nearness of the other people thawed my unbelievers heart” Henri says, and in saying this reveals how the community of the church compels Henri to believe in god. Nostalgia for church expresses itself more subtly and is exemplified in the style of the writing when it concerns itself with the church. Belonging is felt in the narrative in a similar manner as nostalgia although it is expressed more explicitly. Henri feels as if he belongs to part of the church when he walks “down the aisle where strangers [meet his] eyes as if [he] were their child” . Although Winterson has strong religious feelings, they oppose her personal
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