Margaret Atwood

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“Atwood presents us with heroines who suffer victimization but who are not finally defeated” How far do you agree with this view of Atwood’s presentation of Elaine thus far in the novel? Margaret Atwood’s novel Cat’s Eye explores the life of the female protagonist Elaine, and her struggle to move on from her difficult and disturbing past. As a heroine who suffers victimization, to say Elaine was not effected harshly by these circumstances would be untrue. The victimisation and bullying Elaine received as a child has had a strong impact on her everyday life many years later and she was left changed by this victimisation from the girls she shared her childhood with. However Atwood also shows aspects of recovery in Elaine, that although Elaine is still troubled by her childhood, we see moments where she seems to have overcome the sufferings she faced. It is a fair point to make that Elaine is not fully defeated as is shown by these aspects of moving on she sometimes reveals, however that she is defeated because Cordelia remains present in Elaine’s mind years later almost haunting her. An element of Elaine’s personality which shows she has been defeated by her past, is her inability to feel comfortable amongst other women, despite it being years on from the bullying and intimidation she faced from Cordelia, Grace and Carol. As she attends group meetings with other female artists as an adult she reveals that she feels she is “insufficient in scars” to the other females. This shows the side of Elaine who remains in the mind-set that she is in competition with these other females. Throughout her childhood the three girls convinced Elaine she was not good enough, and that she must be improved. Elaine is convinced she is deserving of this bullying she is receiving as a young girl, “What is happening to me is my own fault, for not having more back bone” This attitude has clearly been carried on into her adolescence and we see the victimisation as a child having an...
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