In" Cat in the Rain " How is the husband's reading in the book relevant to the theme ? What do you think is the significance of this passage?They went back along the gravel path and passed in the...

In" Cat in the Rain " How is the husband's reading in the book relevant to the theme ?

What do you think is the significance of this passage?

They went back along the gravel path and passed in the door. The maid stayed outside to close the umbrella. As the American girl passed the office, the padrone bowed from his desk. Something felt very small and tight inside the girl. The padrone made her feel very small and at the same time really important. She had a momentary feeling of being of supreme importance. She went on up the stairs. She opened the door of the room. George was on the bed reading.
"Did you get the cat?" he asked, putting the book down.
"It was gone."
"Wonder where it went to," he said, resting his eyes from reading. She sat down on the bed.
"I wanted it so much," she said. "I don't know why I wanted it so much. I wanted that poor kitty. It isn't any fun to be a poor kitty out in the rain."
George was reading again

Expert Answers
Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

George's reading indicates his selfishness and his emotional separation from his wife and her needs. He remains in the room reading while she goes outside in the rain to search for the cat that is so important to her. The hotel maid and padrone, both strangers to her, are more sensitive to her feelings than George. It is the maid who had stood in the rain, holding an umbrella for her, while she had looked for the cat.

When she returns and says the cat is gone, George offers only a casual response, wondering where the cat had gone. Much can be inferred, though, by what George doesn't say. He doesn't say he is sorry; he doesn't offer her hope that perhaps the cat will come back. He doesn't suggest that the two of them go look again. George doesn't acknowledge her sadness or offer any words to comfort her. When she tries, once again, to tell him how she feels, he doesn't listen; he has resumed reading.

When she had come back inside, she had felt "important" because the padrone had shown interest in her feelings and her need to find the cat. We can infer that feeling important is not how she usually feels. George does not say or do anything to make her feel important because she is not important to him. Her life with George is one of emotional deprivation.

kc4u | Student

The husband's lack of concern for the wife's desire to go and get the cat--'a poor kitty out in the rain', his lack of involvement as he remains focused on his book lying unchanged in a supine position on the hotel-bed, relate to the theme of Hemingway's story, Cat in the Rain.

The hotel-maid and the pardone gave the wife a feeling of having some importance. The maid waiting with an umbrella and the pardone bowing at her from his desk may have reminded the wife of the neglectful controlling nature of her husband. However, the cat could not be retrieved and as the wife returned to the hotel room, the husband asked about the cat in his characteristically uninvolved tone. When the wife despairingly expressed her unfulfilled desire of getting the cat, the husband just ignored her emotional urgency and lay unconcerned reading his book.