Jeannette Winterson Weight

1047 words 5 pages
In Jeanette Winterson’s novel Weight, the author demonstrates how myths have modern personal relevancies and can encourage each reader to investigate the three main subject matters in their lives; boundaries, freedom, and guilt. The numerous references to walls throughout the novel signify the boundaries, which make Atlas strive for freedom. Winterson’s Weight, is a modern rewrite on an old myth of Atlas and Heracles, and the challenges they endure can be interpreted by individual readers for personal relevancies. Atlas, a father of daughters, is faced with the burden of carrying the world on his shoulders. This can represent a feeling as if one is carrying a world of stress and guilt on one’s shoulders and conscience. Heracles, the …show more content…

Heracles suffers while holding up the world. She writes “Meanwhile, Heracles was not happy. The world was much heavier than he had guessed. His strength lay in action not in endurance. He liked a short sharp fight, a good dinner and sleep. His body was as strong as Atlas’s, but his nature was not. Hera was right about him there. Heracles’s strength was a cover for his weakness.” (p.58). While Heracles is holding up the weight of the world, he begins to think of murdering his own children, and all the brutal sexual abuse he has committed on women. This is a very strong moment for readers. When one uses their strength to such exhaustion, physically and emotionally, they tend to think about the wrong doings, and stress within their life and can no longer cope. Winterson shows this by writing, “Heracles was more afraid now than he had been in his whole life. He could accept any challenge except the challenge of no challenge. He knew himself through combat. He defined himself by opposition. When he fought, he could feel his muscles work, and the blood pumping through his body. Now he felt nothing but the weight of the world Atlas was right, it was too heavy for him. He couldn’t bear it. He couldn’t bear this slowing turning solitude.” (p. 71). In conclusion, humans need both freedom and boundaries. One may think they want freedom and despise boundaries, but to