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Symbols in Cat and Mouse

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Symbols in Cat and Mouse

Symbols are very important in the story "Cat and Mouse" by Lisa Metzgar. Lisa tells the story of a woman dealing with issues from a small mouse in her house, to not wanting to be married. Animals are used throughout the story to symbolize underlying issues. The reason for the story being called what it is instead of just plain 'mouse' is because both the cat and the mouse represent Marcy at one point. The mouse is a symbol of her in that it is trying to escape the traps that are out for it. This is the same way that she is trying to avoid being tied down by the people in her life. The cat can also represent Marcy after it has taken the poison, symbolizing what will happen to her if she allows others to determine her happiness.

When the story opens, Marcy seems to have only one problem, and that is the fact that she has a mouse in her house. However, it isn't until she starts thinking about the mouse that she, "cannot help thinking about all the other things that are wrong with her life" (Metzgar, 67). The first problem for her is that her parents are in the beginning of a divorce and they both seem to want to pull her in their corner. Her father wants her to get to know (and eventually like) his new girlfriend Helen, while her mother wants Marcy to hate her. The other (and definitely the biggest) problem is her relationship with her boyfriend Tom. She didn't really want a serious relationship when the two first started dating but didn't want to hurt him either. Now she fears that he is smothering her and worries that he will propose.

The mouse represents Marcy in that like her, it is being hunted. The difference between the two is that she is the one trying to de...

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... main character. The mouse, which is scurrying around Marcy's house, can represent her free self that does not want to be tied down. The traps that the mouse repeatedly escapes are representations of the traps that Marcy herself escapes when dealing with people throughout the story. The lazy cat that has nerve damage from eating the rat pellets can represent Marcy if she allows herself to be controlled by the people around her. Although, the reader can see the link between the main character and the animals, it isn't until the end of the story that Marcy realizes that the mouse is really warning her of what will happen if she gives in to the 'traps'. By physically seeing the mouse being caught by the nose in the trap and seeing the misery on its face, she realized that this is the same way that she will be if she allows her spirit to be controlled by others.