Differences between the two writers start at the beginning of their lives as they both have very diverse backgrounds. Bronte was born into an upper class family in 1816, a time when men were seen as being superior and intellectually stronger than their female counterparts. However Bronte and her two sisters were determined to break the prejudice of the time in order to pursue their natural talents and ambition. The discrimination of the time was so prominent that “Jane Eyre” was published under the pseudonym, Currer Bell, a more neutral name.
In doing so Bronte made a significant contribution to the world of literature and woman’s rights. Alternatively Atwood’s novels were not so influential as she was born in a time of equality into a family of great academic success. Atwood is a contemporary Canadian writer who has received numerous accolades and scholarships in recognition of her literary skills. This diverse background is mirrored in the two novels through the characters and the language. This makes it very interesting for me to compare the two writers as both display the ability to capture ones attention with the same theme yet their styles are poles apart.
This adds to the variety and depth of creative writing. “Cat’s Eye” is written in a very unique and graphic style and this is prevalent throughout the book. The story is told with a wealth of description and vivid language. A plethora of descriptive forms are used throughout to great effect. Similes are frequently used to describe a host of things and this literary device allows the author to express the story in a graphic and at times shocking manner. For example “It sounds like a cavity being filled, in a tooth, inside my head. This is obviously very effective as it allows an insight into how Elaine perceives the situations surrounding her. Similes are also used to illustrate the images that Elaine encounters as in the case of the “Receding darkness, like a tunnel. ”
This effective method of description enhances the reader’s own feelings towards the characters in the book and the pain that Elaine feels. This device is used to provoke maximum empathy from the audience as in the case of the covert feet peeling that were “Smooth, like mushrooms. ” Similes are used to such effect that they become a tell tale sign of Atwood’s style. Jane Eyre” is written very differently to “Cat’s Eye” and this is obvious from the scarce use of similes that play such an important role in Atwood’s novel. I found a small number of occasions when this device was used and the image of rising from a chair “Like a spring” is very effective in illustrating her character as it shows that Jane shot up from the chair at great speed and that it was the only way her character would allow her to go as she is constantly struggling against her oppressors, just as a spring is always trying to burst open.
Cat’s Eye” is not only very graphic which is in extreme contrast to the author of “Jane Eyre” but the literature is riddled with colloquialisms and American dialect, used to successfully express a whole host of varying conditions. Elaine is describing Cordelia’s “bangs” when we first read, an obvious Americanism for fringe. The colloquialisms are often harsh and on occasions blasphemous. This causes a great schism between Bronte and Attwood as Bronte’s language is archaic and is bound by the rigid social mores of the late twentieth century.
Swear words are usually used in connection with Cordelia, as they are effective in illustrating her precocious mannerisms and scornful disposition. On the occasions that Elaine uses foul language it implies a sense of corruption in a young girl that is and should remain innocent. An example of this is the “Cat piss,” fragrance of the nightshade. They also show a contrast in her thoughts and similar thoughts of other young girls as she so readily admits that the smell of “Shit” blend in her mind “into an image of ultra sophistication.
The author uses colloquialism in such a diverse manner that they can also show the innocence, and to an extent the corruption, of Cordelia as is evident when she is informing the girls about “titties” and the “Safe” that they found. This Americanism is a shroud around the true identity and use of a condom. Yet other Americanism’s such as “Sidewalks” and “downtown” are an outward sign of the novels setting. Once again Bronte shows a great contrast; this is because she uses very little and insignificant amounts of colloquialisms.
This is because at the time the book was written any improper English would be unacceptable especially any cursing. The archaic style of “Jane Eyre” is also apparent from the now dated English. An excellent example of this is the use of inversion “Bessie answered not” as this is now no longer seen as necessary. Onomatopoeia is used effectively to describe various sounds, often contributing to the graphic realism that recurs throughout the novel. These sounds are generally used to heighten all of our senses to the descriptions that are engaged in order to explicitly illustrate the message that Atwood is aiming to convey.
The apples “mush” under Elaine’s feet as she walks toward Carol giving the sentence an amount of life and interest. The Word “Sqooshing” is used to describe the ringing of clothes, in the wringer; this is childlike yet descriptive. One example of onomatopoeia in particular is used to simulate the “Crash” of the metaphorical ten stacks of plates that Cordelia has devised. The word “crash” is ruthless and imposing, it dominates Elaine as when it is spoken it causes her to feel extreme distress. However in Bronte’s “Jane Eyre” Onomatopoeia is not a predominant characteristic.
I deduce that this is due to the difference in writing calibre as Atwood can be a much lighter read whereas Bronte provides a challenging and substantial novel. I think that the lack of onomatopoeia is because it is often seen as being childlike and un-descriptive. Although I personally feel that the name Jane Eyre is strong and rigid I believe that this it is short with only two syllables yet it gives the impression of being meaningful and solid. I think that this is used to reflect Jane’s character. Atwood uses metaphors to add to her patchwork of literary tools.
A very prominent example of this is the introduction of Rudolph the reindeer; he is a metaphor for Elaine as there is “Something wrong with him” as Elaine believes that there is something wrong with her. Yet Rudolph’s abnormality becomes his saving grace, as ironically it is this that helps makes him a Christmas hero. This gives Elaine “hope” as she can relate to him, as they both have abnormalities and they both wish to be wanted. Because Rudolph can succeed in doing this I think that she hopes that the same will happen to her. Metaphors are used when Elaine is watching the “flaccid bubbles” of the porridge.
I adored the motion that I too could see what Elaine was seeing because the imagery was so successful. This same scene travels around the kitchen to “Pinpoint bubbles” of hot water in the “Inking” the water ” brown. ” This metaphor I feel is very effective as most readers would never think of a coffee percolator “inking” the water brown and because of this originality I believe that it gives the description more depth and impact. Bronte also uses metaphors and they play an important role in “Jane Eyre” so much so that Bronte uses them straight from the outset.
When Jane is reading a book illustrating how the “northern ocean boils round the naked melancholy isles. ” This is a metaphor for the isolation that Jane feels as she too is surrounded by harsh elitist assailants. Metaphors also play a big role in Jane’s first meeting of Mr. Brocklehurst, as he is “a black pillar” and a “Stony stranger”. These metaphors give him an image of massiveness, imperturbability, callousness and a rigidly harsh character. Elaine the central character in “Cat’s Eye” is a victim of savage and unrelenting bullying. She is betrayed throughout this in such a manner that there are various views that the audience will take.
The view that one chooses to adopt governs the amount of empathy they will feel for Elaine. I presume that this most probably stems from how one will relate to Elaine in accordance to their personal character. Our first impression of how Elaine reacts when in the company of Cordelia comes when they meet for the first time. Elaine is dumb-founded by Cordelia’s ostentatious greeting and is “shy” of her families and her own “grubbiness”. This gives the reader the impression that Elaine; is not a dominant person, lacks confidence and is a girl who is naturally a little quiet and does not react very well in uncomfortable situations.
Yet at this point Elaine seems no different from many other girls her age, as it is perfectly normal for a young girl to be shy when outnumbered and in a strange environment. However our first impression of Jane is incredibly different as Jane’s personality is the absolute opposite of Elaine’s. This is immediately obvious from the outset as Jane illustrates the scene of Mrs. Reed reclined on a sofa with her “little darlings,” “clustered round her” this is said in a very sarcastic tone as Jane says “for the time neither quarrelling nor crying. Elaine would never feel any sort of contempt towards her oppressors yet Jane readily derides the Reed family and notices their faults. This gives the reader the distinct impression that Jane has a strong sense of justice. We arrive at a clearer picture of Elaine and her “friends,” when she is buried in initially a “hole. ”
This “Game” is a facade and is obviously seedier than it first appears, indeed Elaine preliminarily thought “it was a game” then when she “Can’t hear. ” the voices of her friends above her on the other side of planks and “sodden earth. she feels “sadness and a sense of betrayal” once she realises “It is not one. ” (Game), This is a turning point for Elaine as this is the first instance that she has become a victim of Cordelia and the others, yet it is worth noting at this point that she feels the same emotions that most other people would feel. This is not the difference between Elaine and most other people; it is how she reacted which is the significant point. After being released from her underground prison, “The game or another game continued. ” This portrays Elaine to be “Spineless” and this would be uncharacteristic for most of the audience.
It makes us feel anger towards Elaine, as she is being foolish for permitting herself to be manipulated, ridiculed and humiliated. Elaine makes a profound comment at the end of this paragraph as she describes this as the “point at which I lost power. ” This comment is very perturbing and it portrays Elaine as a powerless victim. Although she is decisive about the above comments she also very unsure and confused about the exact details regarding the burial incident. This leads the audience to believe that the episode was so terrifying that it has been erased from her memory. Elaine is depicted as being confused.
This is also the case for her ninth birthday party when all that she can remember “Is a sense of shame and failure. ” At this point I felt very little compassion for Elaine although I did feel increasing amounts of contempt for Cordelia. Similarly there is a single moment in Jane Eyre when the audience realise the character and calibre of the person that Jane is and I believe that this is the red room incident, which has its similarities to Elaine’s burial incident. On Mrs. Reed’s instruction Jane was “borne” to the red room as she “resisted” all the way like a “mad cat” after Jane hit john Reed in defence after he repeatedly struck her.
This shows the first major difference in the two girls dispositions as Elaine was freely led into her hole whereas Jane did everything in her power to prevent the anticipated incarceration and so was physically dragged. When Bessie and Abbot “thrust” Jane “upon a stool” it was her “impulse,” “to rise from it like a spring. ” This portrays to the audience that Jane is a spirited and resilient young girl and the complete antithesis of Elaine.
Eventually when Jane was imprisoned it becomes apparent that the red room is very frightening for Jane as this was where Mr. Reed had died. This did not stop Jane’s adrenalin from running after the previous battle as she felt like a “revolted slave” this feeling was followed by a torrent of questions and injustice as she felt “forever condemned. ” Once again Jane is questioning her persecutors whereas Elaine remains a compliant and willing victim. However the room began to take its toll on Jane and she like Elaine started to feel inadequate, as she was not a “handsome, romping child. ” Her courage began to sink as time drew on and her spirit dissipated away.
This was unlike Elaine as she never had any courage and so had none to loose. Jane’s spirit descends so low that she begged her oppressors to be freed and this was most uncharacteristic of Jane. However her Plea for mercy was ignored causing Jane to have “a species of fit. ” This was a common response for Elaine as she too had tendencies to faint and so became an escape mechanism. As a result of the burial incident and Cordelia’s persecution Elaine describes her “wrong memory” of how lethal deadly nightshade can be, and it is apparent for the first time that she has a preoccupation with death.
The audience later realises that Elaine also resorts to self mutilation “in the endless time when Cordelia had such power over” her as it gave her something “definite to think about. ” This new discovery provokes the audience to perceive Elaine in two major different ways. The first that she is a disturbed and very badly affected young girl because of the bullying thereby provoking sympathy and heartache; yet others may feel that she is foolish for hurting herself and purposely damaging her body because of bullying that could easily have been stopped by almost any elder, if she had confided in them.
Contrastingly Jane was affected by her ordeal in a very different way although she as well as Elaine also suffered from memory loss. Jane immediately confided in the first possible person regarding her ordeal, which would be completely unimaginable for Elaine. This person was the apothecary Mr. Lloyd, usually employed for the servant’s medical needs and had come to visit Jane. She also confided in great detail to Helen Burns later on in the book. Although she too did suffer from some long-term effects as Jane admitted that she still felt “reverberations to this day”
Elain’s state deteriorates throughout the novel she becomes a mutilated wreck due to the relentless oppression. Cordelia’s methods of keeping the bullying covert are hugely successful as letting anyone in on the goings on would be “unthinkable. ” Elaine is such a willing victim due to a multitude of reasons that are all intertwined. She believes that the bullying is for her “Own good because they are,” her “best friends” who are just helping her improve. This serves to make the audience feel that she is foolish, yet for others it will make them feel compassion for the obvious pain and injustice that she has to endure.
She is also “terrified of losing” her “best friends” as she has “never had any before” Elaine obviously wants to feel like she belongs and is wanted by her friends and it is chiefly this feeling that keeps her silent. Another contributory factor is the relentless bullying is not black and white as it is not physical or involving obvious “hatred” Elaine feels that if she were to confide in anybody they would not understand as she had not had any palpable harm caused to her.
This fear was confirmed when her mother confides that “She wishes she knew what to do. ” Elaine does not confide in anybody about her mistreatment because she believes that it is her “own fault, for not having more backbone. ” This seems irrelevant to the more mature reader who can clearly see the distinctive differences between friends giving constructive criticism and a group of protagonists degrading a self-conscious young girl. Elaine is possibly like this because of her lack of self worth and her craving for friendship.