“Cat in the Rain” is a short story written by Ernest Hemingway. It was first published in 1925. The story follows a couple who are on holiday in Italy.
The main theme of this short story is the theme of isolation. Through this theme, Hemingway explores the importance of care and love in marital life, as he shows us that the lack of care and love will unquestionably lead to a feeling of isolation and loneliness.
At first glance, the husband and wife in the story seem to be happily married, as there is no major argument taking place, and they communicate with each other politely and respectfully. However, upon reflecting more closely on the story, one can see that the husband and wife appear to have grown apart and to have lost the spark of love between them.
We can see that, for example, in the fact that the husband “went on reading” when his wife was trying to talk to him about rescuing the cat from the rain. Later on, when his wife tries to speak to him about what matters to her, he tells her to “shut up and get something to read.” This shows that he has lost all interest in his wife—he simply does not care anymore.
At the same time, the wife’s desire to rescue the kitten and to stroke it clearly shows the reader her desire for love, care, and affection. She is not getting any of this from her husband, so she wants to hold the kitten in order to receive it from and give it to the kitten, at least to some extent. She hopes that the cat will enjoy her strokes and that her love for the cat will make up for the lack of love she is experiencing in her marriage.
This short story shows how a marriage does not necessarily prevent people from feeling lonely and isolated. Hemingway highlights how people have to keep working on their relationships. To him, love and care are fundamental parts of a successful relationship and of avoiding the feeling of loneliness and isolation.