Role of Empathy in The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson Summary

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Quote by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross rings true when considering the way empathy plays a central role in works of post-apocalyptic and dystopic fiction. It is often the protagonists of these works who, with their outstanding displays of empathy and emotional intelligence shape and change both the plot of their work, as well as the world around themselves, as will be outlined and described in this paper, which will focus on the novel The Stone Gods. The multiple protagonists of the novel The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson all display this staggering compassion and “deep loving concern” Kübler-Ross describes when outlining her idea of beautiful people, especially in regards to inter-personal relationships.

This topic is important and especially significant when analyzing post-apocalyptic and dystopic fiction, since love and compassion often serve as a direct contrast to the dystopic and dark themes of these works of speculative fiction. When contextualizing and analyzing these themes in the aforementioned novel, it becomes apparent how sensitivity, compassion, and empathy can contrast and highlight the cautionary side of post-apocalyptic novels, as well as provide a metaphorical shimmer of hope at the center of the story.

Since this term paper will focus on the novel The Stone Gods, which consists of four linked parts telling three separate stories with recurring and similar characters in all of them, it will focus on the characters of the novel, specifically Billie/Billy and Spike/Spikkers, as well as the characters Pink and Captain Handsome from the first story of the novel. For the purpose of providing a detailed analysis of the themes of empathy and compassion in the novel, this term paper in its brevity will focus exclusively on the story titled “Planet Blue”. The characterization and relationships are similar, yet not completely uniform between the separate parts of the novel, which will serve to structure the analysis according to the character in question, not according to the stories’ order.

The term paper will be organized according to the characters and how they incorporate the central themes of love in its different expressions, as well as their relationships with other characters. Love for the context of this paper will not merely define the romantic love and affection between partners, but rather serve to explore its complexity in empathy, respect, and compassion. For this purpose, the elements of humanity and love will first be explained, contextualized, and then contrasted with the dystopian elements through analysis of the characters of the novel, and how their implementation highlights and harmonizes with them.


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Role of Empathy in The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson Summary. (2020, Sep 22). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/role-of-empathy-in-the-stone-gods-by-jeanette-winterson/

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