Books and Movies Reviews

Childhood Wounds in Cat’s Eye

Elaine Risely is an artist who returns to her childhood home of
Toronto for an art exhibition, and confronts her deeply buried feelings of
inadequacy and pain from her childhood while she is there.Elaine is a
happy young girl atfirst, but as she makes friends with other girls, she
finds they are always watching her, waiting for her to do something wrong,
whether it is in Sunday school, or in her house, which does not “measure
up” to theirs.Carol sees her unfinished house with”incredulous glee, .
. . as if she’s reporting on the antics of some primitive tribe” (Atwood
49).In fact, the girls games and taunting become even more grisly as they
bury Elaine alive, in a “pretend” game.”They pick me up by the underarms
and lower me into the hole.Then they arrange the boards over the top.
The daylight air disappears, and there is the sound of dirt hitting the
boards, shovelful after shovelful.Inside the hole it’s cold and dim and
damp and smells like toad burrows” (Atwood 112-113).It is after this
incident that Elaine realizes she has lost control of herself, and she
begins to live two different and separate lives, one, where she appears
happy and content, and one where she is caught up in the pain of her past
that she cannot forget.She notes early in the novel, “If you can bend
space you can bend time also, and if you knew enough and could move faster
than light you could travel backwards in time and exist in two places at
once” (Atwood 3).In fact, she does exist in two places at once, and it is
tearing her life apart at the seams.She says later,
At these times I feel blurred, as if there are two of me, one
superimposed on the other, but imperfectly.There’s an edge of
transparency, and beside it a rim of solid flesh that’s without
feeling, like a scar.I can see what’s happening, I can hear what’s
being said to me, but I don’t hav…