Husband vs. Innkeeper
In Hemingway’s story “Cat in the Rain,” there are four characters; the husband, his wife, the innkeeper, and a maid. The focus of this story is on the wife’s want of a cat. The innkeeper resolves this issue but in the process makes the husband look bad. In fact in this story the husband appears insensitive, rude, and lazy; the innkeeper is contrasted as being completely the opposite of the husband. In this story it appears that innkeeper is a model of what this woman’s husband should be.
The first hint we get of this contrast between the husband and the innkeeper is when we look at the different ways they pay attention to the husband’s wife. The husband’s attention to the wife is shown as being very detached. He appears to be disinterested in the things she is interested in and doesn’t even get up to help his wife get the cat she is concerned about. The innkeeper, however, gives the wife the impression that he is there to serve her and even goes as far as to send out a maid with an umbrella to keep the wife dry while she looks for the cat. The only attention the husband gives to his wife concerning the weather is to tell her, “Don’t get wet” (694).
This parting statement highlights the husband’s inaction concerning his relationship with his wife throughout the story. Through the entire story the husband is shown as lying in his bed and is never shown rising from it. This is contrasted to the innkeeper who, upon seeing the wife, rises and bows to her out of respect. It is also mentioned here that the wife, “…liked the hotel-keeper” (694). This is significant because the wife never shows any affection to her husband throughout the story. In fact the innkeeper appears to be the only person she likes during the story. Even so the innkeeper does not seem to be a main character until the last paragraph where he sends the maid with the cat that the wife wanted so desperately. The husband plays a more prevalent role in the story as he is...
Cited: Hemingway, Ernest. “Cat in the Rain.” Literature for Composition. Ed. Sylvan Barnet, William Burto, and William E. Cain. 10th ed. New York: Pearson, 2014. 693-95. Print.
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