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Marriage In Ernest Hemingway's Cat In The Rain

1158 words - 5 pages

Marriage in Ernest Hemingway's Cat in the Rain

In today's society, people have the assumptions that we have evolved far beyond past cultural notions and marital stereotypes. The reality to this is that we are not so superior and tend to take the easy way out in relationships. This is reflected through our atrocious divorce rate. The American wife in Ernest Hemingway's 'Cat in the Rain,' although controlled by her husband, George, is an obvious victim of marital neglect. While vacationing in Italy, the romance capital of the world, George's use of control and carelessness cause the wife to focus on a stray cat for fulfillment.

Although the couple is on a romantic vacation, George proceeds to neglect his wife. This is evident not only in his mannerisms but also in his lack of involvement in her want for the cat. When the wife says that she wants to go get the cat, George makes a poor attempt at offering to help. Unmoving and still laying in his same position on the bed, he remains focused on his book, and offers a half-hearted ?I?ll get it?(533). Since she is not looked after by her husband, she takes comfort in the fact that the innkeeper takes a liking to her and a concern to her well-being. By offering her an umbrella and his assistance ?the pardone made her feel very small and at the same time very important. She had a momentary feeling of supreme importance? (534). Often times women who are neglected need to seek outside attention, whether negative or positive. The fact that the pardone gave the American wife this feeling of importance reflects the lack of attention or even affection she receives from George. On the other hand, she can be like most women who are, in fact, attention whores. These are the type of women who, no matter how much attention they receive from any particular source still demand more. While she very well can be an attention whore, the American wife?s extreme need for notice is a direct result of George?s inability to pay her the attention of which she thrives.

Even though George is a neglectful husband, his controlling nature is of the sort that denies her many of her wants, needs, and desires. Many things in the American wife?s life are not as she wishes them to be. She would like to have longer hair as well new clothes, silver, and candles. Some would suggest that these needs are just superficial and material needs, that they hold no relevance into the fact that she is ignored. On the contrary, her inability to obtain these things or to be allowed these things reflect the domineering traits George possesses. Sometimes when a spouse is controlling over his counterpart, it is because of a fear of losing their significant other. That somehow if George?s wife were to have long hair she would look a lot prettier, making him more vulnerable to the fact she could leave him. Another reason for George not to allow his wife to grow her hair when she confesses that she is ?so tired of looking like a...

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