In Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye, what do the moose and  bear's heads symbolize in the painting "Half a Face"?

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bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is the only painting Elaine does of Cordelia. In the foreground, you have Cordelia's whole face, even though it's called Half a Face. In the background, you have another painting of Cordelia's face, but it's covered, so you can't see all of her face. The face in the background is compared to the moose heads and bear heads you find hanging on the walls of hunters, their trophies. The painting in the foreground is only "half a face" because it doesn't show Cordelia's evil side, the face you see in the background. It only shows her sweet, cute, and polite side that her parents and all adults see. The painting in the background is the other half of Cordelia and is covered up because this is Cordelia's evil side, the one she doesn't show to anyone but the three other girls. Cordelia makes Elaine feel much like the moose and bear heads that are hanging on the wall. Elaine was Cordelia's prey, and Cordelia hunted her down and "killed" her innocence as a child. This is why Elaine isn't able to remember what Cordelia did to her for a long time.