Cat's Eye Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Cat's Eye

Cat's eye, the ninth of Atwood's novels, is the story of Elaine Risley, a successful painter who returns to Toronto, the city of her childhood.
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Most of the novel flashes back to her childhood and focuses on the relationships she had, particularly the relationship between herself and a girl named Cordelia. Cordelia and the other girls teased and tortured her so much that Elaine loses all her self self-esteem and adopts bad habits, such as peeling her skin, biting her nails, and pulling her own hair.

Atwood also explores the world of artistic creativity for female artists. The book also gives the reader a clear picture of how much society and the landscape of Toronto had changed from her childhood memories in the 1940s and the 1950s to the Toronto she revisited in the 1980s.

The review of this Book prepared by Lauren Ashley

The main character is tormented at school because her parents are poor and different. In adult life she becomes a painter but her childhood trauma haunts her and she struggles to make sense of her life and relationships with men and women.
The review of this Book prepared by Ian Peter Avery

Elaine Risley is an artist who has returned to Toronto for a retrospective of her art. Upon returning to the city she is flooded with memories of her past, specifically centeredd around one girl named Cordelia. Cordelia is one of a trio of girls who basically tormented Elaine, inexperienced in the ways of little girls, until high school. Once in high school the tables turn and Elaine becomes the strong one. Cordelia fails out of high school and Elaine loses touch with her, going onto university where she studies art history. The novel describes Elaine's relationships, her first marriage, and her rediscovery of Cordelia who is now in a mental institution after having tried to commit suicide. Elaine makes many conclusions about herself, her art, and her life at various stages in the novel which are somewhat summed up in the end.
The review of this Book prepared by Shawn Vaillancourt

Chapter Analysis of Cat's Eye

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1980's-1999 Life of a profession:    -   artist Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes Ethnic/regional/gender life    -   Yes Woman's story?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   artist Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   4 () The Americas (not US):    -   Yes The Americas:    -   Canada City?    -   Yes City:    -   dirty, grimy (like New York)

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   actual description of hetero sex    -   Weiner talk! Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Cat's Eye

Margaret Atwood Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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