Othering, Resistance and Recovery in Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye
Keywords:Margaret Atwood, Cat's Eye, othering, memory, recovery, oppression, resistance
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.
Ashcroft, Bill, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin. 1998. Key Concepts in Postcolonial Studies. London: Routledge.
Atwood, Margaret. 2002. Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
—. (1988) 2009. Cat’s Eye. London: Virago Press.
Banerjee, Chinmoy. 1990. “Atwood’s Time: Hiding Art in Cat’s Eye.” Modern Fiction Studies 36 (4): 513–22. https://doi.org/10.1353/mfs.0.0902.
Derry, Ken. 2016. “Blood on the Wall: Christianity, Colonialism and Mimetic Conflict in Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye.” Religion & Literature 48 (3): 91–112.
Hite, Molly. 1995. “Optics and Autobiography in Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye.” Twentieth Century Literature 41 (2): 135–59. https://doi.org/10.2307/441644.
Hutcheon, Linda. 1989. “‘Circling the Downspout of Empire’: Post-Colonialism and Postmodernism.” ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature 20 (4): 149–75. https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca /bitstream/1807/10262/1/TSpace0171.pdf.
Jones, Bethan. 2008. “Traces of Shame: Margaret Atwood’s Portrayal of Childhood Bullying and its Consequences in Cat’s Eye.” Critical Survey 20 (1): 29–42. https://doi.org/10.3167/cs.2008.200104.
Osborne, Carol. 1994. “Constructing the Self through Memory: ‘Cat’s Eye’ as a Novel of Female Development.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 14 (3): 95–112. https://doi.org/10.2307/3346682.
Rao, Eleonora. 2006. “Home and nation in Margaret Atwood’s later fiction.” In The Cambridge Companion to Margaret Atwood, edited by Coral Ann Howells, 100–113. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Said, Edward W. 1978. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon Books.
—. 1994. Culture and Imperialism. New York: Vintage Books.
Tyson, Lois. 2015. Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide. New York: Routledge.
Vichiensing, Matava. 2017. “The Othering in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.” Advances in Language and Literary Studies 8 (4): 126–35. https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.8n.4p.126.
Vickroy, Laurie. 2005. “Seeking Symbolic Immortality: Visualizing Trauma in Cat’s Eye.” Mosaic: An Interdisciplinary Critical Journal 38 (2): 129–43.
Yglesias, Helen. 1989. “Odd Woman Out.” The Women’s Review of Books 6 (10/11): 3–4.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2020 Aleksandra Vukelić
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors are confirming that they are the authors of the submitting article, which will be published (print and online) in journal ELOPE by Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Aškerčeva 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia). Author’s name will be evident in the article in journal. All decisions regarding layout and distribution of the work are in hands of the publisher.
- Authors guarantee that the work is their own original creation and does not infringe any statutory or common-law copyright or any proprietary right of any third party. In case of claims by third parties, authors commit their self to defend the interests of the publisher, and shall cover any potential costs.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.