Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Mr. Jack Winterson Character Analysis

Jeanette Winterson’s adoptive father. A manual laborer all his life, he was the one responsible for doling out the physical punishments Mrs. Winterson assigned to Jeanette for her many “transgressions.” Though he was complicit in abusing Jeanette, Mr. Winterson too lived under the imposing shadow of his first wife, Mrs. Winterson, until her death. He later remarries a woman named Lillian, at whom he frequently gets angry and throws household objects, such as Mrs. Winterson’s Royal Albert china. After Mr. Winterson’s death, Jeanette, when cleaning out his house, finds documents relating to her adoption, which she uses to embark on a search for her birth parents.

Mr. Jack Winterson Quotes in Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

The Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Jack Winterson or refer to Mr. Jack Winterson. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Press edition of Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? published in 2012.
Chapter 6 Quotes

When love is unreliable and you are a child, you assume that it is the nature of love—its quality—to be unreliable. Children do not find fault with their parents until later. In the beginning the love you get is the love that sets.

Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mr. Jack Winterson Character Timeline in Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Jack Winterson appears in Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The Wrong Crib
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The Pursuit of Love and Happiness Theme Icon
Mothers, Daughters, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...a child and frequently told Jeanette that the Devil had led her and her husband, Mr. Winterson , to “the wrong crib” when they adopted her. Jeanette writes that her mother kept... (full context)
Chapter 3: In The Beginning Was The Word
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Mrs. Winterson, Jeanette writes, was “in charge of language.” Mr. Winterson was nearly illiterate, having left school at twelve to work at the Liverpool docks, and... (full context)
Chapter 5: At Home
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...out, and so crime and punishment seemed disconnected.” As a result, she hated Mrs. and Mr. Winterson “with the hatred of the helpless; a flaring, subsiding hatred that became the bed of... (full context)
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Some time after Mrs. Winterson died (which occurred when Jeanette was an adult), Mr. Winterson married his second wife, Lillian. A few years after the marriage, Jeanette recalls, he began... (full context)
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The Pursuit of Love and Happiness Theme Icon
Jeanette took Mr. Winterson out on a drive, and when she asked him about the fight, he stayed silent... (full context)
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...Lillian disparages Mrs. Winterson’s old china, and berates her for having abused both Jeanette and Mr. Winterson. (full context)
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The Pursuit of Love and Happiness Theme Icon
...better.” The Royal Albert china was an easy way to do so—and as Mrs. and Mr. Winterson saved their pennies to purchase more and more china, Jeanette, too, found herself swept up... (full context)
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...a series of vignettes meant to illustrate the chaotic and distrustful nature of the “Winterson-world.” Mr. Winterson was always either at the factory or at church, while Mrs. Winterson stayed home depressed... (full context)
Chapter 10: This Is The Road
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A year later, as Jeanette drives out of Accrington toward Oxford, she comes across Mr. Winterson in the street. She does not stop to speak to him. (full context)
Chapter 12: The Night Sea Voyage
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...She is in a “rocky and unhappy” relationship, struggling to write a book, and helping Mr. Winterson to deal with the death of his second wife, Lillian. Jeanette goes to Accrington to... (full context)
Chapter 13: This Appointment Takes Place In The Past
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...café that used to be the Palatine—Mrs. Winterson’s favorite. Jeanette has not been here since Mr. Winterson ’s funeral some years ago. Jeanette interrupts the narrative to reminisce about her father’s funeral—after... (full context)
Chapter 14: Strange Meeting
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Mothers, Daughters, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...to Manchester. She stays in a hotel where she last stayed on the night before Mr. Winterson ’s funeral. (full context)