On "The Cat in the Rain" by Hemingway

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Appreciation for The Cat in the Rain by Ernest Hemingway.

by Maria Minakova

Hemingway’s style of writing is solidly bound with the image of an iceberg where only a small part of the message is on the surface whilst the greater part of the meaning is hidden “underneath the water”. The short story “The Cat in the Rain” is a brilliant example of this technique, so masterly employed by Hemingway in his works. While the story about a couple spending holidays in a hotel and a woman wanting to rescue a cat from the rain and failing to do so does not appear to be complicated at the first glance, there is much more to it than it seems.

The theme of the story is loneliness. The sense of solitude is in the very air of the narration and has pierced every single bit of it. We get the feeling of a suppressive and empty place even in the first paragraph, where the author describes the hotel and the location (it is constantly repeated that it is raining, and everything seems to be hopeless). Even in the hotel the atmosphere is again very monotonous and empty.

It becomes more obvious when the cat appears in the story. “The kitty” which she desires so much is actually an image of herself. She is the one who needs support and the warmth of the family hearth. We can figure out the parallel between the cat and the wife in the cat’s behaviour as well: 'The cat was trying to make herself so compact so that she would not be dripped on.’ It is obvious that George puts a restraint on his wife and she attempts to make herself ‘compact’ just like the cat in order to please him. Cat trapped in the rain is a symbolic representation of the ‘American wife’ trapped in her unhappy marriage life. Her determination to rescue the cat is the desire to rescue her own self. And as she loses the opportunity to get the cat, she loses her hope and that makes her feel depressed. The young woman craves for love, family, home and a cat, which is a symbol of a fireside,...
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