Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews October 9, 2023
October 2, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
*See discount terms and conditions.
Cat’s Eye frequently references the western canon of art history to show how men and women artists face different artistic challenges. Elaine’s work often draws on older artistic movements, representative of her struggle to find meaning in the past. For example,
Torontodalisque parodies the Neoclassical painter Ingre’s most famous work,
La Grande Odalisque, which depicts a naked woman reclining at an impossible angle. By painting Mrs. Smeath in this ridiculous position, Elaine privately seeks revenge for the contortions of womanhood that Mrs. Smeath believed Elaine should accept. Elaine never replicates the works she references but reinvents them. Because the art world is a male-dominated space, the way Elaine must actively change classic artwork reflects how Elaine must work to carve out space and time for her art. In contrast, Jon’s work follows the artistic trends of the 1950s and 60s to a comical degree. His soup cans directly copy Andy Warhol’s famous screen print,
Campbell's Soup Cans. Unlike Elaine’s active engagement, Jon slavishly copies these famous modern artists instead of developing an art style of his own.
Cat’s Eye, Atwood invokes twins, portraying the relationship between twins as both necessary and parasitic. As a child, Elaine assumes twins operate like the Campbells’ twin beds—identical and symmetrical—and doesn’t understand the twin-like nature of Mrs. Campbell’s twin set sweaters, in which one sweater is more prominent than the other. However, as the novel continues, twins operate more like a twin set than twin beds. Just as one sweater is always on top, one twin always has more power than the other. For example, after her mother’s miscarriage, Elaine dreams her mother birthed a single twin, with its sibling ominously absent. In the comic Cordelia steals, the disfigured twin steals the “pretty” twin’s life, suggesting that only one can thrive. This parallels how Elaine regards herself and Cordelia, whom she recognizes as twin-like. Cordelia’s job at the Shakespeare festival frightens Elaine as if Cordelia’s success precludes her own. Elaine compares the two of them to fairytale twins who have different keys, reliant on each other to unlock the truth. Twins create but also threaten each other’s identity.
While wings often represent possibility and hope, in
Eye, something usually thwarts flight. Elaine describes eating turkey wings as eating “lost flight” when she learns that domesticating turkeys renders them flightless. Stephen, freer from the harsh socialization that Elaine receives, ignores the sadness Elaine sees in wings. As a child, Stephen likes the song “A Wing and a Prayer,” which describes an airplane that has lost one engine, while Elaine recognizes the sadness of this song. She understands the plane’s flight will end in death. Stephen pursues a butterfly into a military testing site and is arrested. Yet while he laughs it off, Elaine notes that his pursuit of flight (as in a flying insect) put him in danger. Accordingly, this motif culminates in Stephen’s death. The hijacking literally stops Stephen’s plane from flying to a conference. When Elaine portrays his fall in
One Wing, she paints him falling through the sky, emphasizing her brother’s inability to fly.