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"It´s obscene to have such power - also to feel so powerless" - power relations in Margaret Atwoods Cat´s eye
2005 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year))Student thesis
Abstract [en]

The purpose with this essay is to examine the power relations in Cat’s Eye through Foucauldian criticism. The focus is on the complex interplay on the public level between the dominant discourse of patriarchy and that of feminism. As the two discourses in Cat’s Eye focus on women, this study examines how the female characters are coerced into submission to established norms through normalising judgements and punishments. In the novel, both ideologies use the same tactics and disciplinary practices in order to produce docile bodies that work within the different discourses. Techniques such as partitioning and enclosure are used to sustain gender division and to make individuals aware of their places in society. The control of individuals’ time and activities is also an important technique when it comes to producing docile bodies. Both discourses create desire to conform, but they also coerce individuals to comply through normalising judgements which are designed to teach persons the correct conduct. These strategies are internalised and used by the girls who create a society in miniature which is as oppressive as that of the adults. The main character, Elaine, is the one subjected to the girls’ cruelties and Cordelia is the main perpetrator. Though both girls have internalised the patriarchal discourse, Elaine eventually manages to break free from internalisation. As a young woman Elaine is exposed to the coercion of feminism but due to previous experiences she is aware of the disciplinary techniques and also capable of resisting them. Through art, she is able to create a “self” that is not governed by either discourse.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. , 24 p.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-53916Local ID: ENG D-15OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-53916DiVA: diva2:1102476
Subject / course
English
Available from: 2017-05-29 Created: 2017-05-29

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