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There are many symbols in this short, two page story. The first thing you probably noticed is that George and his wife do not have the greatest relationship. This is symbolized in the opening of the story by several things. First of all, it is raining. Hemingway uses rain in many of his stories to symbolize sadness. The fact that it is raining is mentioned six times in the opening paragraph. The couple is isolated from the people around them. This is reinforced by the fact that "they do not know anyone" and they are the only Americans in the hotel. Their room is also located on the second floor, away from the main floor of the hotel. When they get to their room, the wife, who is never given a name, sees the cat trying to get out of the rain in the square located below their room. She says she wants the kitty and George half-heartedly offers to get it for her. But, the wife, who is called the American girl as a symbol for her lack of maturity, actually tries to get the cat herself. Most critics think that the cat is actually a symbol for a child that the woman desperately wants. This is because the other things she wants are associated with femininity. She wants long hair and flowers and her own silverware. George completely ignores her complaints and tells her to "shut up and get something to read." Finally, the maid brings her a cat that seems to be a gift from the hotel keeper. This probably indicates that if the wife is ever going to have a child, it will have to be with another man. George, who is sitting on the bed reading during the entire story, is completely obvious to her needs and desires.
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