Struggle in Vain

Essay by JoeylinUniversity, Bachelor's November 2014

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Struggle in Vain

In "Cat in the Rain," Ernest Hemingway portrays a woman who makes a vain attempt to take control of her own life and change her subordinate status. Though she courageously expresses her ideas and takes action to pursue what she yearns for, she fails to directly refute males' opinions and she, in the end, makes compromises to males.

Throughout the story, the woman repeatedly expresses her desire for the cat in the rain. Ignored by her husband for a long time, the woman tries to save the cat to realize her self-value. Regarded as the symbol of females, cats are delicate, vulnerable and uncontrollable of their own fate. It seems to the woman that if she successfully saved the cat out of the rain, she would also be able to save herself out of the submissive position. As Yang Xi mentions, the woman "[expresses her] opinions indirectly on purpose so as to conceal [her] real intention."

(Yang 184) As a matter of fact, the woman's wish of protecting the cat, caring for the cat and looking after the cat represents her wish of being protected, being well cared for and being looked after. She attempts to, through looking for the cat, arouse her husband's conscience, responsibility and love.

The woman's attitude towards the hotel owner also reveals her hope for being attached importance to. In contrast to the husband's apathy and ruthlessness, the hotel owner pays respect to the woman, and provides the woman with considerate and thoughtful service. The hotel owner "[stands] up and [bows] to her" at the sight of the woman (Hemingway 173). What is more, he sends a maid to the woman to give her the umbrella in case she gets wet. In comparison with the husband's apathy, the respect and...