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I Came, I Saw, I Conquered…Or Did I? An Investig

929 words - 4 pages

Jeanette Winterson talks about passion throughout the novel. Both men and women are vulnerable to their passions. It is this vulnerability that is used to indirectly control and manipulate individuals. Passion in this book is on the surface a force that pushes Napoleon to conquer, makes people follow religion and a force that infatuates lovers. But Winterson suggests that this is the same force that women influence Men.The venetian canals symbolize the passion that flows through all of us. This parallel is identified through juxtaposition when Villanelle says; " Passion, I spit on it. I spit in the canal"(74). This quote establishes the connection between the Venetian canals and all ...view middle of the document...

"What use was the sun to us when our trade and our secrets and our diplomacy depend on darkness?"(61) This quote integrates the use of darkness for both people and the city. The author continues this theme when Villanelle says " In the dark you are in disguise and this is the city of disguises"(61). Having established this connection we need to understand why the author does this, why is Venice a symbol of human beings and why are the canals a symbol of passion in the context of female agency. The answer lies with the boatmen, the boatmen are an interesting aspect to this story and there actions seem almost awkward for something as simple as paddling a boat. But it is these boats these black boats that guide them through the mazes of canals that keep them afloat. They control the passion, they have ancient paths that would leave others lost, their webbed feet are the ultimate symbol of their power over passion. Villanelle who is the only female boat person asks herself "Could I walk on water? Or in other words Can I control passion? She goes on to say: "I faltered at the slippery steps leading into the dark. It was November, after all. I might die if I fall in. I tried balancing my foot on the surface and it dropped beneath into the cold nothingness."(75) This passage when read allegorically in the light of the established connection between the canal and passion is a key moment where the author introduces Villanelles power. We see her exercise her power with her husband the cook using him for money and travel....

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