Sexism In Falling Woman

Decent Essays

In Vancouver, Elaine meets another man, Ben, to whom she is still married while narrating her story. Ben, who stays off on business in Mexico, never appears in the novel at all. With Elaine, they led a happy and stable relationship and have a child together, Anne. Afterward, she adopts painting as a full time career and draws a series of painting including, “Falling Women”, “Life Drawing”, “Cat’s Eye” as well as a series of paintings about her mother. In her painting “Falling Woman”, Elaine displays the true character of Jon and Josef who are responsible for her victimization (Mehta 189-190). Neeru Tandon and Anshul Chandra in their book Margaret Atwood argue that Falling Woman is Elaine’s another painting which is about men like Josef …show more content…

Elaine’s other painting entitled “Unified Field Theory” portrays one of the most disturbing events from her past. In that picture, she exposes a description of the winter evening when she fell through the ice into the ravine (Mehta 189-190). In Elaine’s self-portrait entitled Cat’s Eye, she states that: “At a distance … there are three small figures, dressed in the winter clothing of the girls of forty years ago. They walk forward, their faces shadowed, against a field of snow” (CE 446). As a reader, one can see that in that portrait she is still hunted by the memory of Cordelia, Carol and Grace when they abandoned her at the river. Furthermore, in that picture she articulates her fragmented self since in this portrait; she has painted only half of her face. Thus, Cat’s Eye is a portrait of Elaine’s inner turmoil and it symbolizes her search for identity. In fact, her paintings make her recognize the fact that she is a fragmented self. She uses her art to describe the evils that she has to face in her childhood. For Elaine, painting is not only a means of escape but also people and events from her past come to life throughout her paintings and by this time she perceives them differently (Mehta …show more content…

Once Elaine watches that, she realizes her own loss, not for Cordelia only but for the possibility of subsequent relationships with women (Webb 104). She mentioned that “This is what I miss, Cordelia: not something that’s gone, but something that will never happen” (CE 462). Commenting this situation, Osborne notes that:
Unlike the male protagonists of bildungsroman who separate themselves from earlier experiences, Elaine finds her identity through consciously going back to and accepting her past and the people in it, and embracing herself as she was and is. In this way, Atwood privileges the relational needs of the female protagonist; although Elaine’s childhood makes it difficult for her to form actual relationships with other women, her inner concerns reflect a desire for connection rather than separation from others.

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