Document Type


Publication Title

University of Bucharest Review


In Sexing the Cherry, Jeanette Winterson’s Dog Woman is a gigantesque weapon yielding force to be reckoned with. As the title teases with the notion of gendering within language, both her physical appearance and actions beg for a reevaluation of what has been defined as both maternal and instinctual. She is at once a stable and loving, yet in order to protect her son from harm, she revolts against the powers that be and oscillates between time and place in both a self-made utopia as well as a force-fed dystopia. To her son, she is shelter, to her enemies, menacing and elusive. What, I am always curious when I teach the novel in class, is Dog Woman to the reader? Winterson’s focus on the biology of this character is paramount. The rendering of Dog Woman’s ‘self’ in writing is a multifaceted project for Winterson, and before terminology such as ‘hybrid,’ or ‘border identity’ emerge, Dog Woman embodies many selves in one, and defies almost all categorization. Pulling from modern literary and philosophical theory, my discussion does address the possibility of whether Dog Woman ever actually appropriates the maternal. My position remains, however, that Winterson may have succeeded in inscribing a new maternal mode onto the literary and cultural consciousness of our time.

Publication Date