?Change of the lady. (Narrate the process of transformation that the American wife experiences from the position of non-identity to the position of identity in the story ‘Cat in the Rain) Answer: 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.
In this story there is a process of transformation which is experienced by the American Wife. We notice that from various changes in her attitude. The story presents the American couple as emotionally barren, isolated by their own self-absorption. The husband is unconcerned with his wife’s malaise, never rising from his supine position on the bed, and even growing angry when she attempts to express her desires. The wife is nameless; shunned by her husband and lacking a sense of self-hood, she is like the “poor kitty out in the rain.
Carelessness of the husband: 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. 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. 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 supporting the idea of him putting some sort of restraint on her. Lack of freedom: During the last part of the story, Hemingway presents the lack of freedom that the wife has.
She asks George if “it would be a good idea if [she] lets [her] hair grow out? ” George merely responds by saying “you look pretty darn nice. ” She does not try to argue about it, further implying that she feels inferior, and George has control over her. While she does not explicitly state it, she feels that her lack of freedom is keeping her from being happy. She proceeds to go on a little rant about how she wants to have her own things, “I want to pull my hair back tight and smooth and make a big know at the back I can feel… I want to have a kitty…
I want to eat at a table with my own silver and I want candles. ” Perhaps George does not want to give her that freedom because he wants to exert his role as the head of the house. Keep in mind that this story was written in a time where women were considered nothing if they were not married. And even in their marriage, many women were not exactly considered part of society simply because they are women. This change is the only one reason behind his transformation from the position of non-identity to the position identity. Care of hotelkeeper:
The wife ventures outside but is stopped by the rain. A maid, sent by the hotelkeeper, holds an umbrella for her. The cat is gone, and the wife exclaims that she wanted a cat so much, revealing that her concern is more for herself than the cat. She returns to their room and complains to George how much she wanted the cat, and says, “It isn’t any fun to be a poor kitty out in the rain. ” Her husband ignores her, and the woman, looking in the mirror, asks him if she should grow her hair out. He tells her he likes it as it is, short like a boy’s, indicating the lack of passion in their union.
The wife then begins to lament her many wants and needs, but her husband coldly tells her to “shut up. ” There is a knock on the door; it is the maid, again sent by the hotelkeeper. She has brought a big cat “for the Signora. ”. ” It is significant that the hotelkeeper is more attuned to the American wife’s desires and more willing to do what it takes to fulfill them than either the woman herself or her husband. Neither of them is willing—physically or symbolically—to go out into the rain. Similarities between George (the husband) and the rain:
It seems that Hemingway’s main contrast in explaining his point is by comparing the wife with the cat. Both are in similar situations where they are kept from being free. One is restrained by the rain while the other one is being restrained by her husband long to break out of those cages that keep them from enjoying life. Perhaps she saw herself in the cat who “was trying to keep dry under the table. ” By going through such weather to rescue the kitty, she doesn’t show determination, but rather a sense of hope that she herself may be rescued from her own cage.
Unfortunately for her, the cat was gone. This turn of events shattered her hope, making her feel “very small and tight inside”. Indeed, she still feels confined to the cage George placed her in, and does not see a way out of there. Hemingway presents us with more evidence that it is George that places such limits on her. When she walks by the pardoner, he made her feel “very small and at the same time really important. She had a momentary feeling of being of supreme importance. ” It is crucial to take note of this, since it is the only time in the story where she has any feeling of superiority.
She has a sense of confidence that is absent whenever George is present. Overview: We know, the story “Cat in the Rain” talks about a cat stuck outside in the rain, but I don’t think that this is what Hemingway meant when he wrote this story. I like how Hemingway started the story off with describing the setting, where the two Americans were and how they were the only ones stopping in to this particular hotel. It gives the reader something to picture right off the bat. I think that Hemingway could have described the characters in more detail to get a better understanding of them.
Also I think the in-depth description of the hotel wasn’t necessary I would of liked to see the description put in to the characters more. I really liked the way Hemingway’s character the American Woman acted because it felt very real to something in real life. The way Hemingway portrayed the woman at first was more along the lines of a nagging wife, but when she goes to the window to see the cat her persona changes, I liked this because it made me get into her head and see how she was feeling Hemingway started in a unique way because I very rarely see a story start like this, and he pulled it off very well.
The description of the location and setting pulled me right into the story; I liked this because it kept me interested and wanting to keep reading. I think the title that was given to the wife as the “American Wife” lacks individuality and has no special meaning, signifying that she is just a mere American Woman and nothing else. I think that the title Hemingway chose was to portray that the wife felt that she was condoned to George her husband and that he never really paid much attention to her.
This lack of attention makes her feel that she does not have much freedom to express herself and keeps much of her feelings inside. 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. I think this is why Hemingway makes it seem that she is so attached and drawn to helping the cat out of the rain. Reasons behind transformation: 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 her 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 Cat in the Rain” fits perfectly with the story.
It symbolizes a cat that wants to be free, one that wants to go out and seek the world. The process of transformation is clear to us. Unfortunately, something is holding it back, something out of its control. Hemingway chose this title to reflect how the wife must feel about not being able to control her own life. She is just like the cat in the rain, a radical and passionate being unable to take a chance because society has placed a restraint on her.