Cat in the Rain: Marriage and Loneliness

Essay by sljokicaUniversity, Bachelor'sA, April 2012

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Cat in the Rain was written by Ernest Hemingway in 1925 while living in France and it is probably his best made short story. Formally and economically, this story is structured as a classic ballet.� Cat in the Rain is, on the surface, a simple tale of an American couple in Italy. This paper will deal with the issues of marriage and loneliness in the story.

With the introduction of a single paragraph, Hemingway has set out the background or the setting of the story, which might be important. From the very beginning of the story many boundaries related to space are drawn. These boundaries eventually provoke sense of isolation. The couple is isolated on a cultural level being the only American couple in an Italian hotel: "They did not know any of the people they passed on the stairs on their way to and from their room."� This isolation may signalize that they are about to experience a crisis in their marriage. "War monument" is a symbolic hint, which might stand for sterility and remembrance of people's deaths and it might imply that a conflict is to be expected. On the other hand, "the public garden" might symbolize fertility. "The sea" might stand for a wish to become a mother, to have a child. The rain restricts creativity since there is no artist with his easel. All in all, the atmosphere is sad, cold and unfriendly.

In the following paragraph, the American wife is standing at the window and it might be seen as a sign of solitude. Instead of describing the relation between the American wife and her husband, Hemingway describes the view from the hotel's room as if there was nothing to say about them or their mutual love.