“Run out on her? That doesn’t sound like the heroics I’d had in mind. Hadn’t I sacrificed myself for her? Offered my life for her life?” (159)
In Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson, this passage is one of the first times that the narrator’s perspective is acknowledged as being biased. Throughout most of the novel, the narrator frames themselves as a side character as other people use them as a tool to mess up their relationships. During this passage, they start to question if they actually are morally in the right. Using the phrase “had in mind” draws attention to the fact that this whole story is the internal monologue of the narrator. It is entirely their perspective of events. At this point in the novel, it seems like the narrator’s narration of the story starts to be questioned. I think that this is the start of the narrator realizing that they might have been the one to mess things up with Louise.
A theme throughout the novel was a lack of a gender for the narrator. The author frequently made the reader question their own gender stereotypes by doing this. In this passage the author uses both feminine and masculine words to describe the narrator questioning their actions. Using ‘heroics’ and ‘sacrificed’ seems like a continuation of this. Heroics is usually thought of as a masculine thing whereas sacrifices are stereotypically thought of as feminine. Running out on someone, as a way to describe leaving someone, is used predominantly used when describing men leaving women. I think that ‘offered my life for her life’ however seems like a feminine role in a relationship. This might be a stretch but in this sense, I think its referencing sacrificing your happiness for someone else’s and that to me is something that has been associated with femininity. The authors use of both feminine and masculine stereotyped words adds even more question to the gender of the narrator.