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The Life and Loves of a She-Devil

In Fay WeldonÆs The Life and Loves of a She-Devil and Jeanette WintersonÆs Sexing the Cherry we are provided with a unique brand of feminism. In WeldonÆs She-Devil, the author presents a heroine, Ruth, who must completely change her dependence on the man she loves, including completely changing herself, in order to stave off self-destruction. In WintersonÆs Sexing the Cherry, the author shows the historical limitations of defined categories of sexuality by showing the multiplicity of identity inherent in her female protagonist, Dogwoman. While both novels push the envelope of modern feminism, Weldon is arguing that woman cannot be obsessed with men as their reason for being and survive, while Winterson tries to posit lesbianism as more instinctual and natural than the historical norm of heterosexuality to show that lesbianism is not perverse. Despite these differences, both Ruth and Dogwoman limit the power of others over them by directing their lives in the direction they choose as fit.

In WeldonÆs She-Devil, we see that the character of Ruth must distance herself from her obsession with her husband, completely remaking herself physically and psychologically in order to compete with her despised rival Mary Fisher. Ruth understands that she is losing the desire of her husband, Bobo, because of her obese and unattractive physical presence. She endures a years-long metamorphosis that eventually transforms her into what is viewed as ôan impossible male fantasy made flesh,ö (Weldon 234).

Despite her initial obsession with her husband, Ruth endures this change in order to win back his affection. However, due to her machinations and spells, Bobo winds up leaving prison a feeble shadow of his former self, which was fairly insipid to begin with. It is difficult to tell why Ruth would still want Bobo at this point. It is also difficult to understand if Weldon is supporting RuthÆs efforts or expo


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The Life and Loves of a She-Devil. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:45, August 06, 2020, from