The short story "Cat in the Rain" by Ernest Hemingway focuses on two Americans in a hotel in Italy. Their room is on the second story, and it faces the sea, a war monument, and the garden. The wife, at times called the American wife or the American...
The short story "Cat in the Rain" by Ernest Hemingway focuses on two Americans in a hotel in Italy. Their room is on the second story, and it faces the sea, a war monument, and the garden. The wife, at times called the American wife or the American girl, stares out the window and sees a cat crouched under a table in the rain. The husband, George, remains on the bed, reading, during the entire story. The wife decides to rescue the cat, but when she gets downstairs, it is gone. She returns to their room, disappointed she did not get the cat and dissatisfied with her life. At the close of the story, the maid brings her a cat.
The themes of isolation and discontent are apparent in this story. The American couple is isolated from the others in the hotel. As well, they are ex-patriots in Europe after WWI, so they are isolated from their country. The war monument becomes a symbol of this isolation. When the wife wants the cat, Hemingway calls her the American girl, and she says she wants a kitty. This immature language shows her helplessness. She also wants her own silverware, new clothes, and springtime. All these desires illustrate her discontent with life in the hotel. However, at the end of the story, she tells George that she wants a cat—no longer does she call it a kitty. The wife appears to be certain of her needs, and one of these needs is fulfilled.
George never moves from the bed during the entire time and treats his wife somewhat like a child: " 'Oh, shut up and get something to read,' George said. He was reading again." George's character shows no change throughout the story, whereas the wife is secure and gets her cat at the end, one of her desires. Whether or not their relationship survives is questionable given George's behavior and his wife's needs.