Cat in the Rain
Hemingway’s title to his story, “Cat in the Rain” carries more meaning than the literal cat in the rain. Indeed, the story talks about a cat stuck in the rain; however, this is not what Hemingway meant when he wrote the story. His character, the American Wife, alludes to the title of the story by presenting elements of confinement similar to that of the cat. We are first introduced to George and his wife, the latter is referred by as the “American Wife” in the first sentence of the story.
This title lacks individuality and has no special meaning, signifying that she is just a mere American Woman and nothing else. This already confines the character in a little cage, since it implies that she will never get herself out of the hole where society has placed her. George does not help much, rarely paying attention to her whenever she demands his care.
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This is evident when she sees “a cat… crouched under one of the dripping green tables” , and points it out to her husband, who offers to help from his bed.
Two points can be inferred from this event: first, George discards all the trivial things the wife says and does not provide her with any attention, making her feel that she must demand it. This lack of attention makes her feel that she does not have much freedom to express herself and keeps much of her feelings inside. Second and most importantly, she seems to connect with the cat, “the cat was trying to make herself so compact so that she would not be dripped on. “.
She definitely feels the restraint that George has put on her, and in order to please him, she attempts to make herself compact just like the cat. The wife never speaks out about the restraint George puts on her, but rather feels it. The main reason behind this is her transformation from being the “American Wife” to the “American Girl. To the general public, a girl seems to have less restraints due to her youth and innocence, while a wife has her (and her husband’s) image to protect.
Hemingway’s choice of words implies that she feels the restraints being lifted once she left her hotel room, leaving her husband behind. Hemingway provides other evidence for George’s restraints by presenting the hotel keeper, whom the wife has a liking for. Described as an “old man and very tall”, the wife has a liking for him, especially his many qualities such as “the deadly serious way he received any complaints… his dignity… the way he wanted to serve her. ” Hemingway never says anything about the wife loving or liking George, further