As time passes many of us will experience an array of trials and tribulations. As we go on our many journeys though out life youll find that you have to be strong to make it though hard times. During Elaines adolescences she is abused physically and mentally by her peers, but later gains self-confidence. Many people may find the novel Cats Eye by Margaret Atwood to be very disturbing at certain times in the book. When we are first introduced to Elaine, we learn that she is a shy, young girl that doesn’t have friends, all she had was her brother Stephen and her Parents.
The war has just ended, and Elaine and her family have finally got a house to call there own. The only thing that Elaine is unhappy about is that she has no friends. But that would soon change. Elaine meets 3 girls from he neighborhood Grace, Cordelia, and Carol, and these are the three girls that would change Elaine’s life forever. As the friendship between the 4 girls gets older, we begin to see a change. Cordelia slowly begins to take charge of the group, becoming the ringleader. ” Don’t do it like that or Cordelia will punish you” is the attitude that you begin to get.
As time carries on in the book we see that Elaine is the one that is always getting singled out, the one that is always being picked on. The 4 girls decided to put on a play, Elaine plays the headless Mary Queen of Scots, Cordelia has been digging the hole for a while, and has collected boards to cover the hole with. “They pick me up by my the underarms and the feet and lower me in into the hole. They arrange the boards over the top. The daylight air disappears, and there’s the sound of dirt hitting the boards Up above outside I can here their voices, and then I can’t here them.
I lie there wondering when it will be time to come out. Nothing happens. When I was put into the hole I new it was a game; now I know it is not one. ” Here were we see the Physical abuse, just one of the many harsh incidents that takes place in Elaine’s Childhood. As time carries on in the book we notice that the relationship between the girls has changed a great deal. The 3 girls begin to watch everything that Elaine does, “Stand up straight, people are looking” Cordelia tells Elaine. In the classroom it is Carols job to watch everything Elaine does, and says and then report it back to Cordelia.
The three girls school Elaine on how she must eat her sandwich, and how she chews her food. After school they either make Elaine walk in front of them or behind them, when she walks in front of them they tell her what she should and should not do. ” Don’t hunch over, don’t move your arms like that” Even at church poor Elaine is watched by Grace, and everything that happens there get reported back to Cordelia. ” She didn’t stand up straight in Sunday school, or she was a goody- goody She only got five out of ten on Bible, She getting stupider”
These things constantly continue to happen to Elaine, every move that is done is watched and is either approved or disapproved. We see things start to get really bad for Elaine, when she is just sick to her stomach with fear of her friends at all times. It can be really noticed when Cordelia calls Elaine’s house, and asks her mother if Elaine can come out side and play. Elaine’s mother says yes, and Elaine has no choice but to go outside. When she gets there as soon as she sees her friends she vomits everywhere.
We can see that Elaine is having a hard time dealing with this mental abuse, and that she isn’t well. “Sometimes I am allowed to stay home. On these days I feel relief, as if I’ve been running for a long time and have reached a place where I can rest, not forever but for a while. ” Elaine feels that the things her friends are doing to her are for her own benefit. The only reason there doing this is because she needs help, she’s feels that since she’s never had best friends before that this is a normal thing that has to happen.
Instead of Elaine being upset by what is going on, she finds a way of turning it into a positive thing. ” Cordelia is my friend. She likes me, she wants to help me, they all do. They are my friends, my girl friends, my best friends. I have never had any before and I’m terrified of losing them. I want to please. ” As usual Cordelia is being the bully that she always is and decides to throw Elaine’s hat over the bridge because Elaine laughed when Cordelia fell. The hat lands on the frozen water and Cordelia tells Elaine that she will be forgiven if she goes and gets her hat.
Scared Elaine decides that she will go, because there is no telling what crazy Cordelia might do next. When Elaine gets to the bottom of the bridge she sees her hat on the ice. While Elaine steps on the ice to reach for her hat she falls in. Her friends have left her and now she is all alone in the cold ice water. Elaine’s begins to feel pins and needles and has become very tired. When Elaine finally make her way out of the water and back to the road, it is after this point we see a major change in Elaine’s attitude towards her three friends.
When Elaine is well and returns back to school, she sees that things haven’t really changed, Cordelia say that Elaine should be punished for telling on them. Elaine says that she didn’t tell on them. ” Don’t contradict me, then how come your mother phoned our mothers” Cordelia says. ” I don’t know and I don’t care. ” And with that Elaine walks away. This is a very big turning point for Elaine this is the first time in the book that we see Elaine actually stand up to Cordelia and her followers Grace, and Carol.