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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 206

The Passion is a novel set during the Napoleonic Wars which follows a soldier named Henri and a Venetian woman named Villanelle. The story adds many elements together, including a poetical style and aspects of fantasy. This theme of a fantastical yearning is found in quotes such as:

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The body shuts down when it has too much to bear; goes its own way quietly inside, waiting for a better time, leaving you numb and half alive.

The story uses a highly unconventional style to convey waking up to this kind of passion. This is seen in quotes such as this one:

Somewhere between fear and sex passion is.

Yet, for all of its non-chronological storylines and unconventional approaches to prose and other narrative elements, the Napoleonic setting of the story is still prominent. This is demonstrated with lines like this one:

If we had the courage to love we would not so value these acts of war.

This kind of intensity pervades the novel, and it’s particularly well-illustrated when Winterson writes:

They say every snowflake is different. If that were true, how could the world go on? How could we ever get up off our knees? How could we recover from the wonder of it?

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