What is the main theme Hemingway's story, "Cat in the Rain"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hemingway's "Cat in the Rain" has a symbolic title that points to the theme of unsatisfied emotional desire. First of all, the American couple are isolated in their room facing the sea. Then, the husband is disinterested in anything that goes on with the exception of the newspaper he reads, perhaps, because he is incapable of satisfying his wife's desires. For, in her longings for the kitten, that is an anthropomorphic expression of her forlornness and need for attention and love as indicated by the repetition of the word "want," which denotes the emotional emptiness within her [want as a noun] and her desire to hold and caress a loved one and be loved [want as a verb].

"I wanted it so much...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....Anyway, I want a cat....I want a cat. I want a cat now.  If I can't have long hair or any fun, I can have a cat."

The wife's response to the attention of the Italian innkeeper--"She liked the way he wanted to serve her"--and her pleasure when he sends a woman out with an umbrella certainly indicate her emotional desire for male attention.  And, her expression of her eagerness to grow out her hair and to "eat at a table with my own silver" suggests the woman's desire for a home. Further, her expression of longing for the kitten suggests her feminine desire and her eagerness to fulfill her feminine role as a mother. If she cannot have attention from her husband, then she can at least devote her attentions to a baby,

zahraa27 | Student

The main theme in this story is searching for happiness . Thought the women a dresses her lone Ness and fear for accepting the failure if her marrage life in the form of little black cat standing alone under the heavy rain with no hope and no chance of survival . She still want to save it as the idea of her wanting another shot to bring joy in to her sad life . The hotel manager is also just another farme for her need for love and romance picture . But she know that her husband is the source of her unhappiness and still he is the only one that could bring the sparkling back in to her life . 

amysor | Student

The main theme is self-absorbation. Each character does not have a strong relationship due to their self needs. More can be found in the "Cat in the Rain" synopsis the enotes.com study guide, check it out!