Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Language, Literature, Culture and Education 2018

Existential Outsideness within the Concept of Place in Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye

M.K Nurul Ain, B. Belinda

National Defence University of Malaysia


Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye has always been analysed through the feminist point of view (McCombs, 1991; Beyer, 1996) but not much has emerged in studies that explore explicitly how existential outsideness is represented in the novel. Prior to that, this paper seeks to examine the relationship between human and place as proposed by Edward Relph (1976) in the novel Cat’s Eye by a Canadian writer, Margaret Atwood (b.1939). The novel depicts vividly the protagonist’s account of a prolonged disengagement and alienation in life that started in early childhood continuing to an adult life as a painter. Subsequently, place in particular, has become the main conceptual framework in exploring the ideas of the relationships between humans and physical environments. As such, the element of existential outsideness under the concept of place by Relph (1976) has become an important element in this study where emphasis is put on the landscape as the fundamental idea. This element will further be used in this textual analysis as a methodology, namely the concept of existential outsideness within the concept of place under ecocriticism in analysing Cat’s Eye by Atwood. The objective of this study then is to explore the concept of existential outsideness as connected to the protagonist’s emotions and her psychological states. The findings will finally demonstrate the correlation between the element of existential outsideness with the protagonist’s disengagement and alienation which subsequently acts as a mirror of the protagonist’s emotions and psychological states.


Information Literacy, Higher Education, Interactive Multimedia, Learning Objectives