Cat in the Rain critical perspective

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Amy Illing 12M

The Cat in the Rain

Hemingway's The Cat in the Rain presents us the two central characters of the American ex-pat wife and her husband, George at a hotel in Italy. The short story is rife with symbolism and meaning, efficiently carried by detailed descriptions of the characters and the surrounding environments, creating many different approaches to the story. Stand out critical positions are Marxist and Feminist, demonstrated by looking closely at Hemingway's simplistic, but intricate style of literature.

Upon reflection, the Marxist idea can be very easily manifested through The Cat in the Rain with the idea of hierarchy being challenged. The typical American white wealth, with an unspoken position of superiority, expresses a desire for many things in this story, for one, the American girl's desire for the 'kitty.' However the Marxist idea is highlighted when the American girl cannot get the cat for herself and the only way her materialistic desires for 'things,' in this instance the cat, is fulfilled is when her inferior the Italian maid fetches it for her, undermining the American white supremacy instated by their wealth and race.

This also raises other issues; the American ex-pat couple holiday in another country and try to impose their way of life onto different cultures. The American wife states 'the cat shouldn't be out in the rain,' which could be seen as more of a statement of higher intelligence, almost condescending towards the lower class maid. The American vs Italian way of living/holidaying is very much different and Hemingway can be shown to highlight this. It could almost be seen as an Anti-American story as the picture painted of the two different cultures shows clear flaws in the societal view of Americans. This American way, desiring material objects and becoming bored,