Discuss the theme of courtly love in "Cat in the Rain."

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In "Cat in the Rain," the American wife is treated with anything but courtly love by her husband, George, who primarily ignores her. However, she receives very different treatment from the hotel keeper. When she goes to him to tell him there is a cat caught out in the rain, he deals with her with a courtesy and dignity reminiscent of the courtly love offered up in medieval literature.

The American wife inwardly notes her approval of the hotel keeper:

The wife liked him. She liked the deadly serious way he received any complaints. She liked his dignity. She liked the way he wanted to serve her. She liked the way he felt about being a hotel-keeper.

The hotel keeper is a courtly man, with a code of honor. He does his job of caring for his guests with pride. He is, in his own way, a Hemingway hero, playing the hand life has dealt him with as much integrity as he can.

His behavior towards the American wife is a sharp contrast to her husband's. George is dismissive of her boredom and treats her with contempt, as if she is a burden to him. He speaks to her rudely, saying, "Oh, shut up and get something to read."

In contrast, the hotel keeper thoughtfully has the maid bring the wife a cat, showing a courtly sensitivity to her needs.

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