Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? Themes

Winterson, Jeanette
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Loss

Jeanette’s identity as an adopted person saddles her with a life-long sense of deep loss which ultimately leads to her depression and suicide attempt. Early in the text, she writes of the loss of “a crucial part of [her] story” and describes the separation caused by adoption as “a bomb in the womb” (5). This demonstrates her belief that her life begins with loss instead of the usual sense of place and family history. The violent nature of this loss is indicated through the metaphor of a “bomb” and is furthered later in the book when the pain of adoption is described as a wound. Jeanette’s feelings of loss are not only pervasive; they are painful.

Jeanette’s descent into depression is triggered by yet another loss: the breakup of a long-term relationship. This breakup, timed with Jeanette’s discovery of her mangled adoption papers, reignites her...

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This section contains 1,992 words
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Buy the Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? Study Guide
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