Othering, Resistance and Recovery in Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye
This paper deals with Margaret Atwood’s novel Cat’s Eye and its depiction of alienation, victimization and recovery in the life of its protagonist, Elaine Risley. Highlighting Elaine’s sense of displacement and her feelings of fellowship with minority figures, the paper provides insights into these processes by relying on postcolonial theories of othering and cultural resistance. It first explores how Elaine is bullied, marginalized and alienated when the cultural and social differences of a new environment make her a target for allegations of abnormality. The focus then shifts to Elaine’s development and maturation as a form of recovery, as well as to the roles that art, memory and compassion play in this process. Ultimately, the paper concludes that Cat’s Eye depicts both an instance of othering and the heroine’s struggle to reverse it. However, even for Elaine, a member of the white middle class, such a reversal remains inevitably incomplete.
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