Cat in the Rain Ernest Miller Hemingway Essay
Cat in the Rain Ernest Miller Hemingway
Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His distinctive writing style, characterized by economy and understatement, influenced 20th-century fiction, as did his life of adventure and public image. He produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. Hemingway’s fiction was successful because the characters he presented exhibited authenticity that resonated with his audience. Many of his works are classics of American literature.
He published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works during his lifetime; a further three novels, four collections of short stories, and three non-fiction works were published posthumously. “Cat in the rain” is a piece of fiction referring to the literature of interpretation. This story is also a psychological one because the author investigates human characters and their relationships. The story is told in the 3rd person narrative. The title of the story admits the fact that the cat’s image makes great play in the story.
We can say that it is symbolic title. The characters presented Directly. The text of the story is not homogeneous: it is interrupted with the elements of description and the characters’ dialogues. The plot of the story is meant to begin before the narration itself starts. There isn’t any preface to the story, the reader knows nothing about the couple’s past. Author shows his characters in a certain period of their lives. “Cat in the rain” is about an American couple on vacation in Italy. While at their hotel the woman saw a cat and the story progresses from there.
During the story it is made obvious that the couple’s relationship wasn’t good. Author uses the cat stuck in the rain with nobody to care for it to symbolize the wife wasn’t loved by her husbund. So, the story begins with the description of the hotel where two Americans stopped: “Palms grew and the bright colors of the hotels facing the gardens and the sea”. We can say that this place is very beautiful. But only one thing breaks the idyll – the rain, that’s why the couple stays in and just a cat in the rain attracted the young woman’s attention.
She wanted to get the cat inside. At first sight everything seems to be ideal: a cozy room on the second floor, lovely view from the window. And only the description of the rain evokes the mood of sadness in the reader. To bring home this air of melancholy which is felt when it is raining, the author uses such stylistic device as parallel constructions: “The rain dripped from the palm trees. The water stood in pools on the gravel paths. The sea broke in a long line in the rain and slipped back down the beach to come up and break again in a long line in the rain “.
We can notice that nouns rain, pools, sea belong to one sphere – the water. This stylistic device is employed by the author to create the atmosphere of inevitability. People can not hide from the rain. Water is everywhere: it is on the ground, it is pouring from the heavens as though the nature weeps for something. Here author uses alliteration of sounds [r], [l]: “Rain dripped from the palm trees, the sea broke in a long line in the rain”, it brings the rhythm to the description of the weather. Complication starts when the American young lady saw a cat in the rain.
The cat sat under the table and tried to make herself so compact that she wouldn’t be dripped on”. Suddenly the girl felt strong desire to get this cat. It must have been a miserable spectacle: wet, homeless cat crouching under the table in the empty square. The girl decided to go down and get this cat. Here we get acquainted with her husband. He is lying on the bed and reading and he has no desire to go out in such weather for the cat his wife wants so much. Although he proposed it but sooner out of politeness and he did not insist. “Don’t get wet”- he said, but it wasn’t a care – he said it just to say something.
Later we can see that the hotel-keeper gives to her more attention than her own husband. That’s why she liked the owner of the hotel so much. Emphasizing the girl’s attitude to the hotel-keeper the author resorts to repetition: “She liked the deadly serious way he received any complains. She liked his dignity. She liked the way he wanted to serve her. She liked the way he felt about being a hotel-keeper. She liked his old, heavy face and big hands “. Unconsciously comparing him with her indifferent husband she liked him because he displayed a kind of attention to her. He always bowed seeing her.
His attention can be explained by the fact that he was the owner of the hotel and it was his due to take care of his clients, especially if they were foreigners. He just wanted them to feel comfortable and convenient. He displayed paternal care and attention to her. May be the girl was disposed to the hotel-keeper because he reminded her of her own father who was always kind to her. Anyway, it was so pleasant for the girl to feel sympathy and care. The author says: ” The pardons made her feel very small and at the same time really important. She had a momentary feeling of being of supreme importance”.
That is the reason she liked him. He made her feel important. He listened to her every word and request, and she knew that her every little whim will be fulfilled, and that can not be said about her husband who never worried about her feelings. The climax starts when the young lady went upstairs in her room. The only reaction of her husband was the question if she got the cat. He did not notice her disappointment. Suddenly the girl felt unhappy.
Through her sad monologue the writer shows all her dissatisfaction with the life, beginning with the absence of the cat and ending with her short clipped hair. I get so tired of it“- she says about her hair, but it is not just looking like a boy that she is tired of. She is tired of a boring life, of her indifferent and selfish husband who remains deaf to her despair. She does not say directly that she is not satisfied with her family life. But the reader can see it in the context. She says: “I want to pull my hair back tight and smooth and make a big knot at the back that I feel. I want to have a kitty to sit on my lap and purr when I stroke her”. She wants to have long hair to look solid and respectable. She wants to have children and her own house which she associates with silver and candles.
And the cat in her dreams is a symbol of refuge, something that she corresponds with such notions as home and cosiness. The author underlines the idea of dissatisfaction using repetition. In importunate repetition of the construction “I want” the reader can see the girl’s emotional state. This stylistic device discloses her excitement. The emotional tension increases. “And I want to eat at a table with my own silver, and I want candles. And I want it to be spring and I want to brush up my hair out in front of the mirror and I want the kitty and I want some new clothes “.
Here is an example of polysyndeton. The abundant use of the conjunction and makes the members of enumeration more conspicuous and also serves to emphasize the girl’s state of confusion. The syntax also contributes to the effect of extreme agitation of the girl. The writer deliberately avoids the use of commas in the girl’s speech to show uninterrupted, without any pauses flow of speech which testifies to her emotional excitement. This abstract may be regarded as the climax of the story. Here the emotional tension reaches its highest degree.
The girl throws out all her discontent, all her negative emotions which she accumulated during her joint life with her husband. Then the peak of the climax comes: “Oh, shut up and get something to read” says her husband. Estrangement grows between two people. The girl feels insulted and stays looking out of the window. It is still raining. The rain is present during the whole narration. The moment when hotel-keeper passed her a cat is outcome. Probably pardrone didn’t understand the melancholy of the girl. However human advantage, a kindness are opposed egoism of her husband. In this story, cat is the symbol of woman.
Woman feels lonely, dependent, and unhappy. She is just like a cat in the rain wet, alone. She is neglected like a poor kitty. She needs to be loved (by her husband) and need interest, security, and comfort. Her husband doesn’t attach importance her ideas, feelings. He doesn’t behave her like his wife, so the woman doesn’t like her life, her clothes, and her hair. She wants to have a kitty because she wants give her love to this poor kitty. In ‘Cat in the rain” we can see a hidden idea between the lines, author doesn’t say it directly. Hemingway’s talent lies in deep psychological insight into human nature.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 22 December 2016
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