The two stories I have chosen 'Cat in the Rain' and 'The Female Body' are similar in that they are both capable of having a feminist interpretation. Before we go into a kind of analysis of the first, we need to pause and consider that the cat in the rain may just be a cringing, drippy, unhappy cat under a table. If we think of the soaking wet cat for a minute, we will know that it has to look pretty pitiful to create an aura of something really wretched about it. As the American wife herself puts it in the story:
"It isn't any fun to be a poor kitty out in the rain" (30). There's something in the cat that the wife both wants and identifies with, which means that it is a symbol that works in at least two ways. Things like the cat's isolation, pitifulness, its lack of protection, and also the hostility of its surroundings can be considered as a symbol for the wife or at least for some aspects of her.
All of these go on to remind us of the wife's own situation with her husband. She is also in an environment that is anything but ideal, which explains her reason for sympathizing with the cat. The word that she uses in talking about the kitty -"fun"-is also echoed later when she tells her husband that if she can't "have any fun," she should at least have a cat. When it comes to dealing with a writer who is as selective about his adjectives as Hemingway, the repetition of a word is something that needs to be taken seriously.
The cat in the story 'Cat in the Rain' symbolizes the excitement and dreams of American married women, women who have lost magic and warmth in their relationships. The relationship between the husband and the wife can be seen as very dull as the husband seems like he is occupied with himself and is not very interested in the wife's feelings and emotions. The cat can be seen as a child as well, making the woman want it desperately as she needs something to nurture and keep her company and to bring something new and exciting to her married life that she has so far been denied.
In her writing, Margaret Atwood portrays how women long to return to their bodies in which they feel estranged as well as they are there just for display. Most often they are taken advantage of and are subjected to do things against their wish. Women around the world, at least once in their lifetime, may encounter what she writes about thus making her piece of work applicable anywhere.
From Margaret Atwood's point of view, she has the feeling that there is exploitation of the female body. She tries to bring out the picture that a woman's body is used as an object of trade. She says that from a woman's face more than a hundred products are launched; using the beautiful faces as a lure. She symbolizes the female body by using imagery where the many parts are used in advertisement and marketing products. Examples of these instances include; the female body used in selling cars, lotions, cigarettes and liquor.
Other instances are when the body is used as bait in selling diet plans, diamonds and desire in tiny crystal bottles. She, however, cautions her readers not to get any funny idea for that "smile is a dime a dozen". She uses constraints to clearly illustrate the need for being dominating, greedy and selfish; for these are values the world is after.
Atwood writes about social afflictions that affect both men and women and thus create inequality. The author further argues that rape is a result of male dominance albeit it degrades a woman's value (Margery, 159). Margaret Atwood in her works utilizes a style that is not only distinctive but also effective. Imagery is the usage of figures meant to form mental images or likeness of things so that one event is related to another. She uses the word 'leash' to imply restraint by tethering; common attitude women usually feel towards men. The word 'chain' portrays something that is used to restraint while 'lock' implies placing where someone cannot escape. All these imageries relate to a dog, and hence women may sometimes get disgusted by such acts.
This suggests that women are tired of certain things especially if they cannot escape because they are restrained. Much evidence in the imageries shows that the dignity, authority and the freedom of a woman have been lessened (Margery 178). The style of being effective evidently appears in her work. The fairytales allusion is illustrated by the diction of terms such as "pumpkin", "high tower" and "chamber" which despite being directed towards women, show the ideology of male domination over females.
Atwood's in her work says that the female body symbolizes female powerlessness and yet the body protests to no avail. She considers the female body as a source of resistance and power. The illustration of how the female body and the earth connect shows a woman as being vulnerable to much oppression. This is a reason why she tries to figure out how men and women are different. The writer is a vice principal and O levels English language teacher at London Grace International School, Bangladesh
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