• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Margaret Atwood

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Margaret Atwood once wrote "Does feminist mean a large unpleasant person who'll shout at you or someone who believes women are human beings. To me it's the latter, so I sign up." This clearly shows that Atwood believes that feminism is not about depicting a woman as a strong and macho character but a real one with admirable traits and some imperfections. Cat's Eye, one of Atwood's acclaimed novels, is distinctively a feminist novel that shows two different kinds of women in society. The first being the stereotypically traditional woman, who is weak and submissive to man. She illustrates this type of woman through her minor characters - Ms. Smeath and Susie, both of whom play weak and traditional women who face tragedy in life. Her second kind is the heroic and feminist character that while being admirable and strong has some human weaknesses. She presents this with two unconventional protagonists - Elaine Risley and Cordelia. She depicts Elaine and Cordelia as two tough but insecure women who fight to create their unique identity in the society. During the time frame of the book (1940- 1980), society was extremely male dominated especially the literary aspect of it. Most of the famous authors were male and most of the highly regarded books were written in a chauvinistic manner, depicting women as weak, vulnerable, disloyal, unimportant and narrow minded. ...read more.

Middle

On the other hand are Atwood's two uniquely feminist characters - Cordelia and Elaine. Cordelia and Elaine represent the reality of women rather than the supposed roles represented by Mrs. Smeath and Grace. Cordelia represents a very strong but victimized woman of society and Elaine is the unusual central character that is a very passionate and talented with a traumatic childhood, which influences her entire life. Cordelia is first introduced in the beginning of the novel in one of Elaine's first memories. Straightaway, the reader gets the impression of a rebel when the narrative voice says, "We're impervious, we scintillate, and we are thirteen". Through the way they express their likes and dislikes, and the power they thought they had, one can easily make out they are feminists. Atwood uses symbolism when she writes "Cordelia sits with nonchalance, nudging me with her elbow now and then, staring blankly at the other people with her grey-green eyes, opaque and glinting metal. This symbolizes Cordelia's eyes as cold and sharp as metal to show Cordelia's attitude towards others. Cordelia has many traits fit for a heroine - for example her outer self-confidence - she presents herself in an extremely confident manner despite her real feelings inside. Her independence- she is never dependant on anyone to guide her and despite having two sisters and mother to look up to, she lives life her own way almost struggling to create her own place, her own identity in the world. ...read more.

Conclusion

She also develops neurotic habits such as biting her skin, pulling her hair and peeling her skin so she can feel pain and her existence. She also develops fainting fits and has suicidal impulses. She has moments where she is lost and needs help, she is afraid of galleries, and is afraid to express her emotions and all in all she hold a lot in from her past that she needs to let out in order to move on. She is also self-doubting as she has no confidence in her abilities and she is paranoid as to what other women think and say about her. She is always afraid she is going to end up like someone and so takes pleasure in knowing she's stronger than others. She struggles her entire life to create her own identity that is not pre-determined by society. Elaine and Cordelia represent the unique and real female protagonist Atwood creates to represent the true role of women in society. Through her clever way of portraying characters to represent a society much like a normal one rather than a fake one, Atwood explores the detailed struggle in the lives of all four characters, which at a first glance seem very distinct but are interconnected in their roles in the society. Atwood brings forth an unconventional protagonist, who despite being susceptible to weaknesses and flaws manages to gain the admiration of many readers through her actions in life. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Languages section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Languages essays

  1. Fasting Feasting by Anita Desai Detailed Study Notes

    but saying nothing to her'. These quotes make Uma look like a disregarded animal on display, confined in cages of the zoo. Listing further reinforces this feeling of the bridegroom's family being a bunch of rude visitors and Uma being suppressed. This triggers a surge of angst from the readers - why is Uma not rebelling?

  2. study guide- Ibsen's A Doll's House

    (Act One) * artfully subtle or shrewd; crafty; sly Dissemble- * Helmer: "Just think how a man with a thing like that on his conscience will always be having to lie and cheat and dissemble; ..."

  1. Free essay

    "Claudius is better seen as a flawed hero then as an outright villain"

    Claudius is regretful but fails to repent. He realizes that his repent will not be accepted if he is still possessed with "those effects for which he did the murder, his crown, his ambition and his queen" (Act III, scene iii). Rather than redeeming, he decides to take back his appeal "My words fly up, my thoughts remain below, Words without thoughts never to heaven go".

  2. In the show The Hard Times of RJ Berger, we follow the life of ...

    The ever occurring line at the beginning of every episode; "my name is RJ Berger.." followed by a comment about how lousy his life is. In this episode RJ states that "being a loser has never felt so lonely".. This is a reflection of his constant fight with Max which is never resolved.

  1. Commentary on the opening of Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale"

    In addition to that her sentence in the first two paragraphs which deal with the past are good connected while her sentence in the other paragraphs where she deals with the present are not connected at all. These 3 paragraphs reflect her actual thoughts about her life and the society she lives in.

  2. A Mother's Legacy In Mary Shelley's "Mathilda"

    who are beings of reason no different from men, and that they consequently sought an adventurous social life and light novels to entertain themselves. Those kinds of preferences fosters sensibility in creatures who were emotionally inclined to begin with, and Wollstonecraft draws up a caricature-like "Fine Lady", whose flimsy demeanour

  1. Cat's Eye and Such a Long Journey

    Faith is almost always the first thing people turn to in times of need and quite different in both Elaine and Gustad's cases. Elaine did not even believe in any superior beings, until Grace invited her to attend church. It's peculiar because afterwards, as she prays to Jesus, that she is demanding her prayers are granted.

  2. In Susie Orbachs, Fat as a Feminist Issue she argues that women who are ...

    When you have alcoholism you lose control over drinking. One really bad thing is that you may not be able to control when you drink, how much you drink, or how long you drink in each occasion. Someone who drinks heavy will continue to do so even though it's causing problems to your health, relationships, and work.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work