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“Cat’s Eye” and “Jane Eyre”

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CAT'S EYE/JAYNE EYRE Margaret Atwood and Charlotte Bronte are two parallel and contrasting novelists united only by the theme of bullying, as in the case of " Cat's Eye" and "Jane Eyre" the two books that I shall study. Differences between the two writers start at the beginning of their lives as they both have very diverse backgrounds. Bronte was born into an upper class family in 1816, a time when men were seen as being superior and intellectually stronger than their female counterparts. However Bronte and her two sisters were determined to break the prejudice of the time in order to pursue their natural talents and ambition. The discrimination of the time was so prominent that "Jane Eyre" was published under the pseudonym, Currer Bell, a more neutral name. In doing so Bronte made a significant contribution to the world of literature and woman's rights. Alternatively Atwood's novels were not so influential as she was born in a time of equality into a family of great academic success. Atwood is a contemporary Canadian writer who has received numerous accolades and scholarships in recognition of her literary skills. This diverse background is mirrored in the two novels through the characters and the language. This makes it very interesting for me to compare the two writers as both display the ability to capture ones attention with the same theme yet their styles are poles apart. This adds to the variety and depth of creative writing. "Cat's Eye" is written in a very unique and graphic style and this is prevalent throughout the book. The story is told with a wealth of description and vivid language. A plethora of descriptive forms are used throughout to great effect. Similes are frequently used to describe a host of things and this literary device allows the author to express the story in a graphic and at times shocking manner. ...read more.


Elaine does not confide in anybody about her mistreatment because she believes that it is her "own fault, for not having more backbone." This seems irrelevant to the more mature reader who can clearly see the distinctive differences between friends giving constructive criticism and a group of protagonists degrading a self-conscious young girl. Elaine is possibly like this because of her lack of self worth and her craving for friendship. Jane is not affected by her persecution in any similar way to Elaine; she would never consider self-mutilation as Jane has a wealth of esteem. Mr. Lloyd the apothecary did proclaim that Jane's nerve's "were not in a good state" yet this did not affect her sense of humour as Jane exclaimed that she was credited with being "an infantine Guy Fawkes." Jane also kept her fighting spirit as she "levelled" "as hard a blow" as her knuckles could inflict onto Jon's nose. This would be tremendously uncharacteristic for Elaine. Our first impression of Cordelia the foremost oppressor in the victimisation against Elaine is not a good one and this view only becomes worse with time. The opening sentence of chapter fourteen describes how Grace and Carol wave and how the "First girl doesn't wave." This antisocial and abnormal behaviour instantaneously draws negative attention towards "The third girl." The initial description of Cordelia is typically in detail but a lot more so than that of Grace and Carol. Cordelia is said to have a "lopsided" mouth and the top lip is "a little askew." This imagery shows Cordelia to have an almost permanent scowl, which gives her an aura of deviance almost like she has a crooked view of the world, as she is a damaged good. Cordelia introduces herself to Elaine in a very pretentious manner that shocks Elaine. She is said to have "A grownup's," handshake "as if she's learned it." This portrays to the audience and Elaine that Cordelia adopts a fa�ade. ...read more.


Had Cordelia ever met Jane she would have realised instantly that any attempt to victimise her in such a covert fashion that so successfully controlled Elaine would have been in vain and hugely regrettable Jane would have resisted every attempt. I also find my self-wondering that if Jane was more compliant and stoical like Elaine and Helen were, maybe she would have been better received within the Reed. Household. Yet in saying that I think that if that were the case Jon would have taken advantage, and as a result Mrs. Reed would have still victimised her, as I cannot believe that Mrs. Reed treated her differently than her own children only because of her "front". Elaine was very badly affected by the bullying to the point whereby death was a better option than living and that to me seams like the lowest that anybody can ever be pushed. Elaine found solace in pain, this self-mutilation would have been in conceivable for Jane as she had such self worth and gusto that she would never allow herself to sink so low. I believe that Jane would kill her oppressor before this would even enter her head. However both novels do illustrate the theme of bullying very successfully and I think that when partnered together in this way they illuminate just how diverse bullying is and the multitude of crushing forms that can affect everybody, which unfortunately is so often the case. Personally I felt that Bronte was the more successful of the two authors in provoking emotion and sustaining interest. I have concluded that this is the case; as for me personally I could empathise with Jane's struggle as I can put myself in the situations that she was so savagely thrust into. Whereas I could not help feeling that Elaine was a victim of her own stupidity and lack of confidence and although Attwood did provoke emotion within me regarding Elaine's struggle I found my self finding the plot at times unbelievable and idiotic. Jonathon Bell Cat's Eye/Jayne Eyre Coursework Page 1 of 3 ...read more.

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