In Hemingway's "The Cat in the Rain," what links the wife's complaint to her desire for a cat? How does Hemingway use repetition and contrast? What details are omitted according to his "iceberg principle"?

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Hemingway's married couple in the hotel room in Italy are representative of the "Lost Generation" of Americans who became ex-patriates in Europe seeking what they were unable to find in the United States where they had become disillusioned after the horrors of World War I.

1. The husband, however, has become further detached as he is aloof and disinterested in his wife's needs. So, when the wife sees a forlorn cat--often the feline is symbolic of the feminine--in the rain, she identifies with it because, like the cat, she, too, is isolated without comfort since her husband ignores her and just reads his book.

"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."

2. In the above quotation, the kitty, who is symbolic of the woman, is her anthropomorphic expression of her forlornness and need for attention and love as indicated also by the repetition of the word "want," indicating the emptiness within her soul [want as a noun] and her desire to hold and caress a loved one and be loved [want as a verb]. In addition, the wife repeated use of the word "cat," indicates that this feline represents her emotional state and feminine desires.

3. Certainly, in this narrative Hemingway's "iceberg" technique is employed as with the unemotional, disinterested, and taciturn responses of the husband who never puts his book down or moves from his supine position, the lack of loving affection toward his wife is suggested. Also, when she speaks of dislike for her hair short hair,

"Don't you think it would a good idea if I let my hair grow out?....I get so tired of looking like a boy." 

...."You look pretty darn nice," he said.

"I want to pull my hair back tight and smooth and make a big knowt at the back that I can feel," she said. "I want to have a kitty to sit on my lat and purr when I stroke her."

this verbal exchange indicates several things beneath the surface of what is said. That the husband responds to her mention of looking "like a boy" and her desire for long hair, which is always considered seductive and an indication of femininity, by saying she looks " pretty darn nice" suggests that he no longer views her in a sexual way, but just thinks she is merely cute to regard. 

Further, he ignores her suggestions of her desire to be caressed and touched in an erotic manner as she mentions her desire to "stroke" a kitty and hear it purr. Moreover, she strongly suggests her desire for lovemaking by repeating her desire for a cat:

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

The wife here tells her husband that if she cannot have any feminine attention or loving ["fun"] and delight together with him, she needs a substitute to whom she can give her love and derive some satisfaction for her longings with its purring gratitude. 

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