Elaine Risley’s Character Development in Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye


Nur Afifah Widyaningrum(1*), Eddy Pursubaryanto(2)

(1) English Department, Universitas Gadjah Mada
(2) English Department, Universitas Gadjah Mada
(*) Corresponding Author


This research explores the character development of Elaine Risley, the main character of the novel Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood (2009), throughout her childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, and adulthood years. The objectives of this research are to explain how the character of Elaine Risley develops in Cat’s Eye and to examine the factors which affect Elaine Risley’s character development. This research employs the objective approach proposed by Abrams (1976) as its theoretical framework and the library research as its method of research. The results show that Elaine Risley always experiences development in her character throughout her life; she develops from a bullied little girl in her childhood, a mean but passionate girl in her adolescence, and an independent young woman in her early adulthood to finally become a woman who struggles to let go of her past in her adulthood. Elaine Risley’s character development is affected by several factors, namely, Toronto as her environment, her experiences with bullying, the men and women in the society around her, her own paintings, the cat’s eye marble, and the Virgin Mary.


Cat’s Eye; character development; Elaine Risley; Margaret Atwood

Full Text:

212-223 PDF


Abrams, M. H. (1976). The mirror and the lamp: Romantic theory and the critical tradition. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Abrams, M. H. (1999). A glossary of literary terms (7th Ed.). Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle.

Atwood, M. (2009).Cat’s eye. London, England: Virago Press.

Awards & recognitions. (n.d.). In Margaret Atwood. Retrieved from http://margaretatwood.ca/awards-recognitions/

Baldick, C. (2001). The concise Oxford dictionary of literary terms (2nd Ed.). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Barnet, S., Burto, W. E. & Cain, W. E. (2008). An introduction to Literature (15th Ed.). London, England: Person/Longman.

Bennett, A. & Royle, N. (2009). An Introduction to literature, criticism, and theory (4th Ed.). London, England: Routledge.

Clausen, M. (2015). Disrupting female stereotypes, the feminine difference and the challenge of patriarchal norms in Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye. Unpublished undergraduate thesis. Falun, Sweden: Dalarna University. Retrieved October 22, 2017, from www.diva-portal.se/smash/get/diva2:906072/FULLTEXT01.pdf.

Forster, E. M. (1927). Aspects of the novel. London, England: Edward Arnold & Co.

Freytag, G. (1990). Freytag’s technique of the drama: an exposition of dramatic composition and art (3rd ed.). E. J. MacEwan (Trans.). Chicago: Scott, Foresman and Company.

Full bibliography. (n.d.). In Margaret Atwood. Retrieved from http://margaretatwood.ca/full-bibliography-2/.

Griffith, K. (2011). Writing essays about literature (8th Ed.). Retrieved from http://ia800307.us.archive.org/7/items/writingessaysabo00grif_0/writingessaysabo00grif_0_encrypted.pdf

Gronewold, L. (2004). Margaret Atwood’s evil women in Lady Oracle, Cat’s eye, and The robber bride. Unpublished MA Thesis, Montana: The University of Montana. Retrieved Oct 22, 2017 from https://scholarworks.umt.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=3948&context=etd.

Jafni, N. F. S. A. & Yahya, W. R. W. (2014). Exploring the sense of belonging and the notion of home in Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s eye. International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences 38, 41-50. doi:10.18052/www.scipress.com/ILSHS.38.41.

Labudová, K. (2005). From retrospective to reconstruction of the auto-biographical subject of Cat’s Eye. In J. Chovanec (ed.), Theory and Practice in English Studies, Volume 4: Proceedings from the Eighth Conference of English, American and Canadian Studies (Literature and Cultural Studies), pp. 109-114, Brno: Masaryk University.

Lloyd, Anna. (2012). A Study of Childhood Trauma and Bullying in Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye. Unpublished undergraduate thesis. Lund: Lund University. Retrieved Oct 22, 2017, from lup.lub.lu.se/luur/
download?func=downloadFile&recordOId=4254688&file OId=4254694.

Macpherson, H. S. (2010). The Cambridge introduction to Margaret Atwood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Murphy, M. J. (1972). Understanding unseen: an introduction to English poetry and the English novel for overseas students. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers Ltd.

Retrospective. (2001). In Longman dictionary of contemporary English (3rd Ed.). London: Pearson Education Limited.

Salvation. (2001). In Longman dictionary of contemporary English (3rd Ed.). London, England: Pearson Education.

Sangidu. (1996). Data dan Objek Penelitian dalam Penelitian Sastra. Jurnal Humaniora 3, 69-77.

Taylor, R. (1981). Understanding the elements of literature: Its forms, techniques and cultural conventions. London: The Macmillan Press.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22146/lexicon.v5i2.42068

Article Metrics

Abstract views : 1268 | views : 3663


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Nur Afifah Widyaningrum, Eddy Pursubaryanto

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Lexicon Office

English Department
Faculty of Cultural Sciences,
Universitas Gadjah Mada
Soegondo Building, 3rd Floor, Room 306
Yogyakarta, Indonesia 55281
Telephone: +62 274 513096
Email: lexicon.fib@ugm.ac.id

ISSN: 2746-2668 (Online)

Web Analytics View Stats

Creative Commons License
LEXICON is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Lexicon is indexed in


About UsSubmissionIssuePoliciesReview