Green Cherry as an (Im)Maturity Story

Gülten Dayioglu's Green Cherry series, which is composed of two books, tells the experience of Kiraz, the daughter of a lower class family who migrated to city from village, in the context of the class and cultural problems she faced.

Gülten Dayioglu's Green Cherry series, which is composed of two books, tells the experience of Kiraz, the daughter of a lower class family who migrated to city from village, in the context of the class and cultural problems she faced. Kiraz's father is a janitor of which the young girl is quite embarrassed. The general attitude of his father and his brother is always prohibitory to Kiraz and it is clear that her mother is overprotective towards life. The mother also imposes Kiraz the feeling of fear about the life. Kiraz often thinks that she can change the class difference between her and others by pretending the people from upper classes. After a while, she realizes that this is not possible and begins to dissemble the class she belongs to. It is one of the breaking points in the novel when she meets Özgür and have a close relationship with him later. When Özgür learns that Kiraz is a "daughter of a janitor", he defines Kiraz as a "prostitute" because of her class condition. The rest of the story and the second book of the series deal with Kiraz's reaction to Özgür and her revenge-oriented behavior.

It is possible to read Green Cherry as a novel about human maturation. As a daughter of a family who has experienced the trauma of the immigration to the city from the village, it is seen that Kiraz is confronted with urban culture by which she tries to get accepted. In the beginning of the book, Kiraz is a teenage; and she then becomes an adult in the narrative period and turns into an individual who reaches “self-consciousness” according to the author's criteria. The choice to Green Cherry as the name of the book can also be read as a reference to the expression of "I was raw but ripened later on". In this text, focusing on the first book of the Green Cherry series, it is argued how the patriarchal order was supported with the ideal woman portrait drawn by the narrative in the context of emotional relationship.

Kiraz in the novel is portrayed as a person who strives to find herself at a level against the upper class people, the repressive father, ignorance and inequality. Throughout the novel, the narrator affirms the norms and the patriarchal system in which the character lives. In the beginning of the story, Kiraz was introduced with the words "very intelligent, beautiful, and different than others". The maturation of Kiraz takes place not by going out of or criticizing the system, but by integrating into it. In order to prove that she is a virgin, she has a sexual intercourse with Özgür and believes that she received her revenge of being called as "rotten cherry".

Telling the difference between ethics of the master and the slave, Nietzsche says that the feeling of resentment of the slave to the master is the main element of their ethics. He reveals that the slave cannot make any real action because of this feeling, but they only make reactionary actions. It is possible to read the attitudes of Kiraz throughout the novel as reactive in this context. Kiraz's failure to get rid of Özgür in her mind, her problematic relationship with him and the efforts to prove herself prevents Kiraz to make a real action. This is why Kiraz’s process towards maturation fails: her character is formed by the environment rather than her self-consciousness as a genuine individual.

Other events in the narrative are examples of this reactive behavior: from the years when Kiraz worked as an apprentice at the hairdresser to the effort of socializing in a bar; from her motivation in her school life to the circle of her friends; all her actions in these occasions were shaped by external stimuli. For example, humiliating treatments of the upper class members in the hairdresser, the effort of Müge, who is the daughter of a wealthy family, to show her power over Kiraz, who introduced herself as a daughter of a state official; Kiraz’s dreams of being the "Lady Kiraz" in the future when she helps to the daughters of their neighbors in their studies… Almost all the details seem to have come out of an average Yeşilçam movie. The fact that Kiraz cannot be a genuine individual, and the feeling of resentment at basis of her actions, as Nietzze points out, stops her maturing process.

It is Kiraz's teenage years when she has concerns about the immigration from the village to the city, and the class conflicts; therefore, it is meaningful to examine the first book. Dayioğlu has a project of a maturation novel in Green Cherry; Kiraz, who is the "ideal individual" in the narrative, has not been able to go beyond of being a character, who is shaped by the environment, does not have own decisions, and acts with feelings of revenge and vengeance. Thus, Green Cherry is the story of getting involved in this patriarchal system, not fighting with it.



Dayıoğlu, Gülten. Yeşil Kiraz. İstanbul: Yapı Kredi Yayınları, 2016.