Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois on the 21th of July 1899. He died in 1961, 62 years old. As a seventeen-year-old boy he started as a writer in a newspaper office, and that was the beginning of his great career. He had a predilection for understatement, which was, and is, not a very usually way to give a text the meaning it depends on. But all the way he managed this technique very well, and his texts actually grown bigger at it. Almost every novels of his have been film, and many of the themes in them are still important today. Now I will write a short analysis of one of his short stories, called "Cat in the rain", and this one also has a theme, which draws its lines to the community of today.
When I read this short story for the first time, I did not really understand the meaning of it. It is a text filled with nothing, and at the same time so much.
An American couple is arriving a hotel in Italy, were they are going to spend their vacation. After reading the short description of the way it is there by spring- and summertime, you got a long description of the landscape around the hotel at that moment, and there is a feeling of an unknown, suppressive and empty place. The writer is always repeating the fact that it's raining, and everything seems to be hopeless. Apart from the American couple, the only sign of life you reach in the first paragraph is a waiter that stands in the doorway, looking out at the rain.
In the next picture you can see the American woman, who is also looking out at the rain, but from the hotelroom-window. She suddenly discovers a cat, which is trying to keep dry under a table, and she wants to bring it inside. Behind her, her husband is "lying propped up with the two pillows at the foot of the bed." He is reading a book.
Still, there is a very relaxed situation. Noting unusually to find, just an ordinary scene of an ordinary couple in an ordinary hotelroom. The atmosphere is very monotonous and empty.
When the man's wife says she's going outside, her husband wants to go instead, be helpful to her. But she says no, and walks out to find the cat by herself. When she's downstairs, she meets the hotelkeeper, and you know by once that she really likes him - the next paragraph tells you that; every sentence starts with "she liked" - something about him. And the first sentence in the next paragraph starts with "liking him she opened the door", which is a very unusual way to open any sentence at all!
The wife walks out to bring the cat inside. After her a room-maid is coming up, holding an umbrella over her, and she thinks that the hotelkeeper must have sent her. When she looks under the table where the cat was hiding, she finds that it's gone. "Suddenly she felt disappointed".
In the following sentences there is something to notice; the wife is no longer a wife, but a girl. The maid asks her if she has lost something; - "There was a cat", said the American girl. Still, it's not that easy to find out why the writer suddenly is changing her "name". When she again passes through the doorway the padrone is bowing from his desk. This movement makes her "feel very small and at the same time so important". And "she had a momentary feeling of being of supreme importance".
Here you are again; a young girl, who thinks of her dad or uncle, who wants them to protect her. And you start wondering about her relationship to her husband, who is laying at the bed, upstairs, reading a book, and do not have time for anything else but that. After she has returned to the hotelroom, still sad after the poor missing cat in the rain, her husband puts down the book. He starts talking to her, and she talks back in a way not unlike a child. She repeats again and again that she wanted that kitty so hard, but she is not sure why. Then her husband starts reading again, and when she walks over to the mirror and starts evaluating herself, he's not listening to her. I get this feeling of his indifference towards her, and I do not believe the big meaning of his words. While she's standing there studying herself from side to side she reel off all the things she wants in her life. And when she looks out the window she finds out that she wants it to be springtime. All the way while she's talking, he is reading, only answering a few times for being a little bit interested, which he is not.
The story ends with someone knocking at the door. It is the maid who's coming, and in her hands she's holding the little kitty, saying "the padrone asked me to bring this for the Signora."
Even if this is a story that seems to have no contents at the surface, it's laying so much under it that you cannot see. We have this American couple. The wife is maybe the most interesting one. When you first hear about her, you probably think of her as a very grown up and mature lady. But soon you change this picture of her over to a younger lady, almost a little child. I do not think she is in love with the hotelkeeper. I rather think she looks at him like an uncle or a dad that will take care of her.
When she finds that the cat is gone she feels very disappointed, but all the way she do not know why the cat is so important to her. I may think that the reason of her behavior is a result of being pushed into the grown up world to fast. She does not seem like that women she tries to imitate. Her husband, on the other hand, is a complete grown up. He is finished wondering about the worlds' many mysteries, everything is ordinary to him. He has seen them before. Therefore he thinks she is silly, when she wants all this new stuff all the time.
She mentioned this ting about springtime once, and I wonder if it also can have something to do with their marriage. I mean if she wanted a new springtime for her and her husband, or maybe only for herself?
Regard the name of this short story: "Cat in the Rain". It is okay that it is a cat in the rain in it, but I really wonder if it could not be the two of them??