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"Cat in the Rain"

By:Ernest HemingwaySummary/ Overview

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Hemingway sets the story in Italy: a place of romance, vibrant history, and imagination. The American couple in the story, George and his wife, appear to be lacking these qualities when it comes to their relationship. As it rains, the pair sit in their hotel room; the man reading, the woman daydreaming. She watches the rain out the window as it lands on the gardens and the historical statue in the court. Outside under the windowsill she sees a turtle shell cat trying to escape the rain. This cat is the woman's sudden object of affection and she darts out into the storm to bring it inside. She passes two facility workers on her way out: the manager and a maid. When she and the maid arrive at the cat's seen destination, it has vanished and the woman is clearly disappointed. After going back to her room and complaining to her husband about her miserable life, a knock is heard at the door; it is the maid with the cat.




Key Concepts/ Themes

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The major concept of the story is the struggle between the husband and wife. It is more of a power struggle. In the story, the woman would
always make statements about things she wanted, expecting her husband to get them, which kind of portrays her as somewhat of a controlling person. She expects her husband to jump at her every command, but to her dismay he never does what she wants him to do. He only shrugs her off by telling her to shut up and continues his reading. This makes her feel unimportant. However, when the woman goes to get the cat from out of the rain, she sees the hotel-keeper, and mentions how she likes him and the fact that he is so eager to serve her, which gives her "a feeling of supreme importance." (Hemingway 685). The woman feels lonely, because the man is always reading and paying her no attention and she is not satisfied with her appearance, so she wants a "cat," which is a reference to a baby.




Important Symbols

rain-poncho-cat.jpgThe most important symbol in "Cat in the Rain" is the cat. The woman saw the cat outside in the rain and she knew that she wanted it. "I wanted it so much... I don't know why I wanted it so much. I wanted that poor kitty. It isn't any fun to be a poor kitty out in the rain," (Hemingway 686). The woman is saddened because her husband doesn't give her the attention that she thrives for. It seems as if the woman is drowning in her emotions and lack of love that she has in her relationship. So, because of this the woman wants to have the kitty. When she looks out the window and sees the cat she realizes that if she had the cat she would be able to have something to love her and give her the attention that she longed for. The husband doesn't seem to care so much for her. She tells him about the cat that is outside in the rain and he doesn't even budge to go get it for her. When she tries to speak to him he doesn't even want to hear her, instead her tells her to shut up. The woman feels that having the cat will give her a sense of importance to something. It seems that the woman feels a connection between the cat and herself.


Important Characters


There are a few main characters in this short story, "Cat in the Rain". The American wife and her husband are of two of these characters. The wife is a woman with strong emotions who longs to be admired and loved, while the husband is not so emotional and doesn't care to show any love to his wife or their relationship.The story is based on the stay and also the love affair of the couple.

SuperStock_866-5055.jpgThe cat plays a rather large role in this short story. The woman wants to rescue the cat from the rain, but before she can get to it, the cat has disappeared from the green table it was hiding under.



Also, two other main characters mentioned in this story are the hotel owner and the maid. "The owner stood tall and elder with full dignity. The american wife liked that about him. As she walked past the his desk, he stood to bow at her presence." The maid tried to help the American wife by escorting her outside with an umbrella. At the end of the story, the maid comes to the couples hotel room to deliver the cat to the wife. The hotel owner had caught the cat and sent it with word to the wife that it was for her.


Resources
Hemingway, Ernest. "Cat in the Rain." Literature for Composition. Ninth ed. Pearson. 684-86. Print.
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