The Cat in the Rain

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The Cat in The Rain

In the short story the "The Cat in the Rain" by Ernest Hemingway, the cat is a symbol around which the story revolves. As a central symbol, the cat reveals the psychological state and emotional desires of the American wife.

When the cat is first observed it is "crouched under one of the dripping green tables. The cat was trying to make herself so compact that she would not be dripped on."(56) Even though the wife is standing to far from the cat to determine its gender, it is described as "she." This choice of words helps to make a connection for the reader between the wife and the cat. The woman sees the cat in a treacherous environment trying to make it through a storm without drowning, and decides to go and rescue it. From the moment she leaves the room to get the cat, she is told repeatedly not to get wet, but she doesn't care. Her only concern is to get the cat out of rain. Getting this cat is important to her because she empathizes with the it. "It isn't any fun to be a poor kitty out in the rain."(57) Before she even has a chance to step into the rain, the hotel keeper has sent out the maid with an umbrella to shield her from getting wet, showing the reader he cares. As she walks with the maid holding the umbrella over them, she is suddenly disappointed to see the cat is gone. When the maid finds out what she was looking for she laughs. The wife is not at all amused, "Oh I wanted it so much. I wanted a kitty."(57) She is feeling so sad and depressed making us wonder why this cat is so important for her to have. "We must go back inside, you will be wet." "I suppose so" says the American girl, as if her emotions are not drowning in turmoil with the life she is currently leading. It soon becomes clear to the reader why the woman probably feels like a cat drowning in the rain.

Her husband is the source of her emotional despair....
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