I look at it and see my life entire: language, third-eye vision and painting in Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye

Massoura, Kiriaki (2004) I look at it and see my life entire: language, third-eye vision and painting in Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye. British Journal of Canadian Studies, 17 (2). pp. 210-223. ISSN 0269-9222

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3828/bjcs.17.2.6


Atwood enjoys re-writing classical myths, like the evil seductress Circe and the faithful wife Penelope as well as contemporary cultural myths, like the all-nourishing housewife and mother of the 1950s and 1960s. Cat’s Eye (1989) is a novel where Atwood demythologises the archetype of the sweet and innocent little girl. In this article, Massoura explores the sociological and psychological effects of bullying in the patriarchal society of the 1940s and 1950s. It is the same society that fixes mothers in certain roles and renders communication between mothers and daughters difficult. The four girls view the female body as helpless and ugly, and female sexuality as fearful and repulsive. Massoura offers an original reading of the relationship between body and language by using Julia Kristeva’s theory on the maternal, and by arguing that language is employed to cause physical as well as emotional pain. For this reason, Elaine replaces language with the ‘eye’ of her imagination which she uses to become a painter. This ‘third eye vision’ helps Elaine see beyond male or female social stereotypes; come to terms with her past; and, reacquire her identity.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q200 Comparative Literary studies
T700 American studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 27 May 2008 14:43
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2017 08:38
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/1907

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