Peer victimization as a social behavior between children and their peers has become of paramount importance within education institutes. Two Canadian literature pieces, Cat’s Eye and The Shape of a Girl, were able to highlight the psychological pain inflicted onto others through bullying. In Cat’s Eye by author Margaret Atwood, Elaine Risley, remembers her childhood memories of a relationship with a bully, and how it affected her life and changed her from a weak girl into a strong woman. The Shape of a Girl by playwright Joan MacLeod, tells audiences a short story between a victim and a bully, Braidie. As a result of the destructive psychological effects caused by bullying, many individuals were forced to live a life in complete fear. However, the ways people cope with these situations are significantly different. Many victims tend to hold these repressed emotions deep inside their heart, producing psychological injuries. From literature, it can also be identified that a bully may also suffer from similar psychological pain as a victim, but struggles to find a way to deal with their pain, resulting in an endless chain of peer victimization. Understanding from both a victim and bully’s perspective, it can be finally understood that these very different characters have personalities that essentially parallels.
Being bound by the tormentors of their lives, victims are unable to break free of the chain holding them back from discovering themselves. An unfortunate victim of bullying, Elaine Risley was portrayed by Margaret Atwood to show qualities of fear and her struggle for individuation, “I’m having that trouble myself now; too close to a mirror and I’m a blur, too far back and I can’t see the details.” (Atwood 15) With the weakening of Elaine’s visual abilities in the beginning of the novel, her loss of individuation is shown through the use of foreshadow, as she was unable to see clearly who she really is in a mirror. The mirror was unable to give Elaine a full picture of herself but instead it is constantly changing, similar to her character’s later development. The images displayed by the mirror may also symbolize Elaine’s multiple personas as well as a slight hint of her shadow, which is nearly explicitly shown to others during her childhood. On the road to discover the Self, the thought of quitting filled her mind. Elaine, being affected by the psychological scars left on her by Cordelia, the bully, slowly starts to display suicidal behaviors,
“I think about becoming invisible. I think about eating the deadly nightshade berries from the bushes beside the path. I think about drinking the Javex out of the skull and crossbones bottle in the laundry room, about jumping off the bridge, smashing down there like a pumpkin, half of an eye, half of a grin. I would come apart like that, I would be dead, like the dead people.” (120)
After suffering from peer victimization caused by the group of bullies, Elaine’s inner psyche describes in detail on how...