The Gendered Texture of Clothing and Art in Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye

  • Lily Maase


Margaret Atwood’s novel Cat’s Eye (1988) is focused on the distinct differences between boys and girls and how they must present themselves. Texture, in both clothing and art, plays a central role in how the protagonist, Elaine, perceives these gender expectations. She is focused on the textures that differentiate boys and girls clothing and how they reflect her discomfort with this binary. As an adult, Elaine continues to focus on gender and texture through her paintings made with egg tempera. Her chosen medium is free of texture and the gendered connotations of the harsh and soft clothing of her childhood, providing her control over her desired gender expression.