Cat’s Eye

by

Margaret Atwood

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Mrs. Finestein Character Analysis

One of the neighbors when Elaine’s family moves to Toronto and the mother of Brian Finestein, whom Elaine briefly babysits. Mrs. Finestein is a stylish lady who supports and inspires Elaine. She is also the first Jewish person Elaine meets. As one of the first adults outside of Elaine’s direct family who seems to respect her and treat her kindly, Elaine loves and admires Mrs. Finestein. Although Mrs. Finestein does judge Elaine’s adult fashion choices of all black, they continue to have a positive relationship and Elaine paints her as one of her three muses.
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Mrs. Finestein Character Timeline in Cat’s Eye

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Finestein appears in Cat’s Eye. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part Five: Wringer
Gender and Cruelty Theme Icon
Identity and Conflict Theme Icon
Time and Memory Theme Icon
...walking him, she receives twenty-five cents, which is a lot of money. She really likes Mrs. Finestein , who has pierced ears, wears real fur, and has a vestibule that smells like... (full context)
Art, Science, and Religion Theme Icon
Gender and Cruelty Theme Icon
War vs. Environmental Catastrophe  Theme Icon
Identity and Conflict Theme Icon
...him for being silent and uncritical. At first, Elaine likes the job and loves that Mrs. Finestein is willing to pay her in nickels because it seems like more money. She lays... (full context)
Gender and Cruelty Theme Icon
Identity and Conflict Theme Icon
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Mrs. Finestein forgives Elaine for quitting and gives her an extra nickel, but Elaine still goes home... (full context)
Part Six: Cat’s Eye
Gender and Cruelty Theme Icon
Identity and Conflict Theme Icon
...a single small knitted sock in her basket. She dreams that her real parents are Mrs. Finestein and Mr. Banerji, and that her mother has had a baby—one of a set of... (full context)
Part Eight: Half a Face
Art, Science, and Religion Theme Icon
Gender and Cruelty Theme Icon
Identity and Conflict Theme Icon
Time and Memory Theme Icon
...to make her own clothing in home economics and gets fashion advice next door from Mrs. Finestein . Sometimes she gets stuck doing dishes with Stephen, who condescendingly teaches her about space... (full context)
Part Ten: Life Drawing
Art, Science, and Religion Theme Icon
Gender and Cruelty Theme Icon
Identity and Conflict Theme Icon
...wearing all black, which Babs and Marjorie (older women in Life Drawing) tease her for. Mrs. Finestein tells Elaine’s mother that she looks like an Italian widow and is letting herself go;... (full context)
Part Fourteen: Unified Field Theory
Art, Science, and Religion Theme Icon
Identity and Conflict Theme Icon
Time and Memory Theme Icon
...question the reality of the landscape. Her next painting is called Three Muses; she painted Mrs. Finestein , Miss Stuart, and Mr. Banerji—not as they were to themselves, but as they inspired... (full context)