Symbolism in Cat in the Rain by Ernest Hemingway Essay

Symbolism in Cat in the Rain by Ernest Hemingway Essay

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Symbolism in Cat in the Rain by Ernest Hemingway

In his short story Cat in the Rain, Ernest Hemingway uses imagery and
subtlety to convey to the reader that the relationship between the
American couple is in crisis and is quite clearly dysfunctional. In
other words, the reader has to have a symbolic reading of the images.
In fact, what seems to be a simple tale of an American couple spending
a rainy afternoon inside their hotel room serves as a great metaphor
for their relationship. This symbolic imagery, hided behind common
objects, gives the story all its significance.

This short story contains a great number of striking and literary
symbols. In a symbolic reading, the opening paragraph describes the
crisis that exists in the marriage of the couple. In other words, the
description of the bad weather, of the "empty square"[1](l.10) and of
their isolation, reflects this conflict and also sets the negative
mood. In fact, since the beginning, Ernest Hemingway insists on the
isolation of the couple that "does not know any of the people they
passed" (ll.1-2) and are "only two Americans"(l.1). Here it is
interesting to notice that they are isolated from the outside world
but also from each other. There is no communication and they have no
contact, they are distant from each other. Then this isolation is
accentuated because of the weather, it is raining. The rain is part
responsible for the fact that they have to stay in their room.
Nevertheless, the rain has a symbolic meaning together with the
description of the public garden. It represents as suggests the critic
John V. Hagopian the "lack of fertility"[2] (p.230) .

This lack is a...

... middle of paper ...

...t the
cat, the story would lose much of both their colour and clarity.
Moreover, Ernest Hemingway has succeeded very well in this story in
showing that individualism of the people living with their own problem
is in many case the cause of split and despair.


[1]All further references are to this edition : Ernest Hemingway, "Cat
in the Rain" . The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, ed. Jackson J.
Berson (Dwham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1975).

[2] John V. Hagopian, "Symmetry in 'Cat in the Rain'", College English,
XXIV (December 1962).

[3] John V. Hagopian, "Symmetry in 'Cat in the Rain'", College English,
XXIV (December 1962).

[4] John V. Hagopian, "Symmetry in 'Cat in the Rain'", College English,
XXIV (December 1962).

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