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Philological Analysis of a Short Story

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Philological analysis of a short story «Cat in the rain» by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway was an American author and journalist. He has individual writing style. Which was characterized by economy and understatement, has a great and important influence 20th-century fiction. The author’s life is as interesting and unusual as his novels. He participated in two World Wars. He was a soldier and a correspondent. He never set on one place; he visited Paris, America, Spain, Africa and many other countries. E. Hemingway is very amorous. He had six women, with home he fell in love. Most of his works was produced between themid-1920s and the mid-1950s. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1945. Hemingway's fiction is successful because the characters he presents exhibits authenticity that resonates with his audience. Many of his works are classics of American literature. He published seven novels, six short story collections and two non-fiction works.

 Ernest Hemingway’s “Cat in The Rain” published in 1925 is a short story fulfilled with symbols and meaning. This story is the epitome of its genre. It is slim, thoughtfully written, and full of more suggestions than it has words. It is like a sculpture; where each sentence is three-dimensional—it carries has multiple meanings. There is nothing wasted in Hemingway's descriptions or his dialogue. Each word earns its keep and it is up to the readers how they will interpret each of them. It was the one of the first Hemingway`s stories. Moreover, it was written in time, when he and his wife were on the verge of divorce.

“Cat in the rain” relates about a young couple’s relationship and misunderstanding. The main idea of the story, that you need pay more attention to your folks, listen them and talk to them. As psychologists say, most problems can be decided with a small sincere conversation.

 The action takes place in an Italian hotel having as main characters a young American couple. It could possibly be the period after WW1:”Italians came from a long way off to look up at the war monument.” “The American wife stood at the window looking out.” She sees a cat in the rain hiding underneath a table. She feels compassion to the cat and goes down stars to gets it. However, she comes on the first floor there is no cat under the table. The climax starts when the young lady comes upstairs in her room. The only reaction of her husband is the question if she gets the cat. He did not notice her disappointment. Suddenly the girl felt unhappy. Through her sad monologue the writer shows all her dissatisfaction with the life, beginning with the absence of the cat and ending with her short hair. The story ends with a maid knocking at the door holding a tortoise-shell cat for the American woman.

The story of E. Hemingway “A cat in the rain” is a classic example of the implementation of the “iceberg principle”.

The story has as main characters the wife and her husband. “The American Wife” as she is called in the text remains unnamed throughout the entire story. Once the author begins his story, she is presented as “The American wife” nevertheless later on she is referred as to “the American girl”. This “American wife/girl” is the main protagonist of the story, a young lady who is on holiday with her husband. The author changes dramatically his opinion and calls her “The American girl” when she starts acting childish and choses to call a cat “kitty” several times: «I’m going down and get that kitty». She complains a lot about things, that she really want: “And I want to eat at a table with my own silver and I want candles. And I want it to be spring and I want to brush my hair out in front of a mirror and I want a kitty and I want some new clothes.” From her monolog readers understand that the couple have only themselves. They have no pets, children or something that happy couples in that time have. The loneliness that the heroine feels, visible to the naked eye. Readers understand that her husband pay on her a little attention. He prefers reads book and lying on bad, rather than listening to his unhappy wife. When he feels that his wife`s voice is too loud and prevents him from reading he said: “‘Oh, shut up and get something to read” and continue reading.

Therefore, George is another character of the story. Even though at the beginning he offers himself to go and get the cat for his wife during the rest of the story, George does not care about anything but his reading: “He was reading again.”/” George was reading again.” He interesting more in books than in his wife.

The owner of the hotel is a minor character of the story:”…the hotel owner stood up and bowed to her as she passed the office. His desk was at the far end of the office. He was an old man and very tall.” The American girl/wife looked smitten with the padrone whereas there is no mention of her being in love with her husband and vice versa, not even a slightest bit:” He stood behind his desk in the far end of the dim room. The wife liked him. She liked the deadly serious way he received any complaints. She liked his dignity. She liked the way he wanted to serve her. She liked the way he felt about being a hotel-keeper. She liked his old, heavy face and big hands.” There is something about the hotel owner that inspires an instant admiration for the American girl/wife, he treats her the way her husband doesn’t:” The padrone made her feel very small and at the same time important. She had a momentary feeling of being of supreme importance.” As readers understand, it was he, who at the end of the story gives the main character a gift.



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