Cat in the rain(原创)

The short story “Cat in the Rain” was written by E. Hemingway in the 1920s. E. Hemingway, the author, is one of the most famous American novelists, short-story writers and essayists, whose deceptively simple prose style has influenced a wide range of writers. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.

"Cat in the Rain" is one of his famous short stories, depicting an American couple that spends their holiday in an Italian hotel. The woman in the story sees a cat stranded under a table in the rain and wants to bring it to her hotel room. When she goes to retrieve the cat, however, it is gone. So she returns to the hotel room and has a conversation with her husband about finding out the cat and then about changing her whole Life. Her husband, however, seems to be terribly annoyed by her and not interested at all. Eventually, the cat is delivered to her room by a maid at the request of the hotelkeeper.

It seems that there is no obvious and clear theme in this short story, just about a trivial matter between one couple in the daily life. But if we take into consideration the background of the story---after the WWI in Europe, and the major thought and feeling of Hemingway at that time. We can realize that it is not as superficial as it appears, but to express the indifference of people after the WWI even between the couple: one remains dominant and repressive while the other is trying to change and improve the situation; worse still, they do not recognize the problem, thus making it become more like the depressive weather in this short story, until there approaches the winter when their love dies.

In the story, The American woman is struggling because this marriage can't meet her expectations. The woman wants a stable home where she is loved and respected by her husband. But her husband doesn't share the same idea and is content with their current life style. He treats her with a lack of affection, apathy and indifference. When she starts telling him all the things she desires, he just asks her to shut up. She isn't asking too much, just a cat, and other simple things; and most of the time little things are what count most. Whereas, the husband thinks she's acting like a spoiled child, showing no understanding of her, and he makes no efforts to make her feel loved, wanted and to make her feel like a real woman. In contrast, the hotel keeper who sends her the cat finally makes her feel important. It is he who gives her the attention she needed and what she can't get from her husband. In other words, it is he who makes her feel like a true lady. Nevertheless, perhaps it is also he that worsens the relationship between the couple.

In order to embroider the story, Hemingway uses the setting skillfully in the story to set a unique feeling. At the beginning of the story, the weather was pretty nice, but then it became worse, "it was raining. The rain dripped from the palm leaves. …..", creating a sad, cold and unfriendly atmosphere. Then looking at the two Americans, we can find that the description above is a foreshadowing of the state of the couple's relationship: at first it was nice--the spring-time of their love; but then there was only rain--their relationship got cold and unfriendly. Another symbolic hint in the story is the war monument mentioned three times in the story. This may be done to suggest us that a conflict is to be expected.

Another thing worth referring to is that Hemingway uses animals purposefully to create richer characterization for his human characters. In "Cat in the Rain", the animal is a cat and it is significant enough to the story and characters that it rates a mention in the title of this short story. The cat has a twofold meaning to the story and the American woman. First, the cat symbolizes how human beings are often faced with larger, more hostile forces than they can contend with on their own. Second, the cat symbolizes the situation of the women in her relationship. The woman seeks love, comfort, companionship and nurturing from her husband which she does not receive. She, therefore, like the cat "was trying to make herself so compact that she would not be dripped on". And her husband like the rain makes her feel unsafe and unfulfilled, and the hotel keeper is like the table under which she hides. She needs someone to hold her, to love her and take care of her, and those are qualities that her husband doesn't have.

"The Cat in the Rain", a seemingly simple tale of an American couple in Italy, yet illuminates much deeper meanings. It really provides me with a chance to think profoundly and critically. Anyway, it is well worth reading.


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