What constitutes a problem is not the thing, or the environment where we find the thing, but the conjunction of the two; (45)
This line stood out to me in particular because of the way it relates to our discussion of identity and queer theory. In context, she’s speaking in terms of her sampler and how it makes more sense in Elsie’s house than in her sewing class. However, I think that this concept is really interesting when applied to the idea of identity. Take for instance a lesbian couple. According to Winterson, there is nothing inherently wrong with the couple themselves. Place them in a Greek Orthodox church, however, and issues arise. However, if you take a devout Greek Orthodox and place him in a lesbian dive bar in the West Village and issues are bound to arise there too. Perhaps then it is environment that colors our perception of good and bad, right and wrong. If something can be right in one context and wrong in another, is there such thing as something that is inherently, at its core, good? And for that matter, can something be inherently, at its core, bad? This might be a stretch, but this then leads me to explore the concept of gender. I think that Winterson’s words here can be used to argue that everything, not just goodness and badness, is contextual and situational. Therefore, gender, sexuality, and everything else that we as a society have forced into black and white boxes could be argued to be entirely situational, rather than inherent.