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Cat In The Rain: Marriage And Loneliness

1778 words - 8 pages

Cat in the Rain was written by Ernest Hemingway in 1925 while living in France and it is probably his best made short story. Formally and economically, this story is structured as a classic ballet. Cat in the Rain is, on the surface, a simple tale of an American couple in Italy. This paper will deal with the issues of marriage and loneliness in the story.With the introduction of a single paragraph, Hemingway has set out the background or the setting of the story, which might be important. From the very beginning of the story many boundaries related to space are drawn. These boundaries eventually provoke sense of isolation. The couple is isolated on a cultural level being the only American ...view middle of the document...

" He does not show any interest in what his wife is doing and comes up with a poor answer: "Don't get wet." The book that he is reading is a counterpoint. He goes into another dimension. This is a husband who is a man of letters. For him, real life is something material, something not important.The hotel owner bowing to the American woman as she passes the office is a contrast to the husband. He stands up while the husband stays on the bed. The hotel owner is the introduction of a new male model, challenging the husband. The great attraction to this man is pointed by the repetitions of "she liked". However, we notice that the old man is probably old enough to be her father and supposedly evokes in her at a time of hardship the feelings of relief and protection that her father did. She sees him as perfect gentleman.The woman goes downstairs in search for the cat. When the Italian girl asks her if she lost something, she replies: "Yes, a cat under the table... Oh, I wanted it so much. I wanted a kitty." The wife's remark that she wants a kitty can be interpreted as a symbol of her desire to have a child. The woman wants to protect that little cat, which stands for innocence and vulnerability, like a baby. On the way back to her room, she sees the padrone again, who rises to bow to her, an action which makes her feel "very small and tight inside... really important... of supreme importance." These words might be an indication that she is pregnant. The fact that the padrone gave the American wife the feeling of importance reflects the lack of attention or even affection she receives from George. For a moment George becomes thoughtful by saying: "Wonder where it went to." He does not have any answer for this predicament and so resorts to his book again. He is passive all the time and he is escaping to the world of literature. She says that she does not know why she wants that cat so much: "I don't know why I wanted it so much. I wanted that poor kitty." However, we know it: she feels the need for something to take care of, to be responsible for, that makes her grow up. She is in search of something here, either love, attention, sense of belonging or companionship. The cat is clearly a substitute for her needs. The moment she finds out that the cat has disappeared, she is no longer described as "the American wife", but rather as "the American girl". By failing to find someone to take care of, it seems as though she were demoted in femininity.The woman is sick and tired of the status quo. She wants some change and variety in her life. Thus, she puts a suggestion to her husband, asking if it would be good if she let her hair grow out. With disinterest, he says that he likes the way it is. There is a change in wife's character. She starts repeating "I want... ." We hear childish voice. This is a categorical demand. She looks like a boy, but she wishes to feel a big bun of hair. When he comments her hair, there is an impression that he does not care. This...

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