From its own perspective, why would a cat assume faces should be covered with hair? Why would it perceive the center of the student's face as protruding to a great extent?

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I Am a Cat employs a technique of satire which is now generally known as "Defamiliarization." The Russian term "Ostranenie" is also sometimes used, as the technique was described by the Russian formalist Viktor Shklovsky in his 1917 essay "Art as Device." Although many formalist writers adopted this technique, it...

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I Am a Cat employs a technique of satire which is now generally known as "Defamiliarization." The Russian term "Ostranenie" is also sometimes used, as the technique was described by the Russian formalist Viktor Shklovsky in his 1917 essay "Art as Device." Although many formalist writers adopted this technique, it would be quite wrong to think of it as beginning with them, since it is also used in eighteenth-century satirical works such as Gulliver's Travels.

Defamiliarization involves an attempt to make the reader think differently about the world by describing it from an unfamiliar perspective. It is particularly used to describe aspects of everyday life which we generally think are mundane or do not think about at all. Kinnosuke Natsume achieves this effect by making the narrator a cat and describing human behavior and appearances from the cat's perspective. Just as we think that our view of the world is the default position, so does the cat. The cat assumes that it is natural for faces to be covered with hair because this is what a cat's face is like. Similarly, a human nose would seem like an exceptionally long protuberance to a cat, or most other animals except elephants and tapirs. Looking at the world and ourselves as a cat might do allows us to see our own strangeness.

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