Analyzing Propp's Functions in 'Cat in the Rain'

Categories: Cat

In 1928, Vladimir Propp wrote 'Morphology of the Folk Tale', which delves into the study of forms and their components, as well as their relationships to each other and the whole. Propp analyzed a group of fairy tales and broke them down into functions, defining a function as an act of a character with significance for the action's course. He identified seven characters, including the Villain, the Donor, the Helper, the Princess and Father, the Dispatcher, the Hero, and the False Hero.

The initial situation in Propp's functions introduces the family or hero, as seen in 'Cat in the Rain' where "only two Americans stopping at the hotel" are introduced. This sets up the story with a positive tone at first, describing the surroundings with big palms and green benches in a public garden. This suggests a romantic setting and a potential hero in hiding or feeling isolated.The rainy surroundings described in the text create a sad, cold, and unfriendly atmosphere, as indicated by Hemmingway's use of words like "empty" and "the motorcars were gone.

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" Despite the mention of a war monument, its importance seems to be dampened by the rain. The repetition of the war monument could suggest impending conflict. When the woman sees the cat, she instantly wants it, potentially connecting to her motherly instincts or childish tendencies. Not having children of her own, she desires to feel like a woman by caring for something innocent and vulnerable. Using child-like language and expressing a desire for a "kitty" rather than a cat, she may symbolically be searching for herself and seeking something to nurture in order to grow from a child to a woman.

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The proairetic code questions why she wanted the cat and why she felt the need for it, while the symbolic code suggests her search for self-discovery and growth.The woman slowly realizes her own identity and independence when she decides to get a cat. Meeting the patron downstairs, she appreciates his respectful attitude towards her. The patron's demeanor makes her feel both small and important, highlighting different aspects of her personality. The patron's actions, such as sending a maid with an umbrella, demonstrate his role as a helpful figure in her life. Upon returning to the hotel room, the woman reflects on why she desired the cat so much.The woman desired the poor kitty for companionship and a sense of responsibility, while her husband failed to understand her emotional needs. He seemed content with his own manhood, while she felt like a girl. The husband may have been a false hero who preferred his wife's childlike state to maintain control. The female sign symbolized love and goddess, reflected in the woman's contemplation of herself in a hand mirror. Ultimately, the woman received the cat from a maid, suggesting a transition into womanhood with the help of a magical agent provided by the helper.

Updated: Feb 21, 2024
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Analyzing Propp's Functions in 'Cat in the Rain'. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

Analyzing Propp's Functions in 'Cat in the Rain' essay
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