Margaret Atwood's 'Cat's Eye': An Analysis

1505 Words6 Pages
The experiences we have in childhood do much to shape our adult identity. In her novel Cat's Eye, Margaret Atwood chronicles the life of artist Elaine Risley, and through a series of flashbacks shows the reader how she became her adult self. The retrospective showing of Elaine's artwork provides a framework for the retrospective of her journey from child to adult. Because Atwood was creating a fictional character, she was free to incorporate some very dramatic events that impacted Elaine's thoughts and feelings. Most of us do not have as much drama in our lives I certainly did not and yet the people, circumstances and occurrences in our lives affect us profoundly. We create our identity by the friends we choose, the decisions we make, and the way we respond to things that happen around us. Some things happen to us, and we also make conscious choices. Reflecting upon her childhood, Elaine says, "Until we moved to Toronto I was happy" (22). Before moving to Toronto, Elaine lived a nomadic life with her family. She was comfortable being close to nature and had really no notion of how to be feminine. Elaine's mother did not discourage her from being feminine, but it was not particularly encouraged. Elaine's best friend was her brother Stephen who, like their father, was passionate about science. Elaine shot marbles with her brother and sometimes pretended she was part of the infantry. She was happy to do his bidding; she admitted "I want to play with him more than he wants to

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