Repository logo

"If everything is stable, one is not going to move very far": reality as illusion in Ondaatje's The cat's table

Faculty Advisor




literary criticism, Cat's Table, Michael Ondaatje, MacEwan Book of the Year

Abstract (summary)

This essay examines one of the major themes of Michael Ondaatje's The Cat's Table: Perception and Reality. While on the surface the novel is about a young boy on a journey, it is Michael's unique perspective that reveals an elusive truth about our reality: that it is a fragile illusion, at best. Via a comparison of Michael's past (specifically the twenty-one days he was aboard a ship named Oronsay) and present realities, then, both Michael and the reader come to realize the highly subjective nature of our collective 'reality.' The MacEwan Book of the Year Student Contest invites students to submit creative and/or critical essay responses inspired by the university's current Book of the Year. Submissions are judged by MacEwan University's Book of the Year committee members. This work was the 2012/13 winning entry for Michael Ondaatje's The Cat's Table (2011) and was awarded Critical Essay winner.

Publication Information

Barratt, Jessica. ““If Everything is Stable, One is Not Going to Move Very Far”: Reality and Illusion in Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table.” MUSe 1.1 (2014): 111-113. Web. 3 February 2014.



Item Type

Student Article




All Rights Reserved