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Literal Analysis of "Cat in the Rain" by Ernest Hemingway (Essay Sample)




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Analysis of “Cat in the Rain” by Ernest Hemingway
“Cat in the Rain” is one of the greatest stories of the 20th century, although it has been underappreciated for its simplicity. However, this story has proved interesting because of how it takes something profoundly simple, a woman wanting a cat, and turns it into a broad and deep commentary on the marriage between these two people, and whether they are ever actually going to be happy. The primary element of discussion in the story is not necessarily the wife or the cat or the husband, or the setting, but rather the theme of gender stereotyping that has caused isolation and loneliness in the story. There are multiple instances of gender stereotyping well-captured by Hemingway in the story, because the story was published at a time when women had gained freedom and liberation, thereby changing their position in society.
The story aimed at capturing the women’s struggles during the early twentieth century as they experienced structural gender roles in society. The aspect of gender stereotyping has resulted in unhappy relationships, hence the widely witnessed isolation and loneliness among women. In the story, gender stereotyping is demonstrated by the woman, George’s wife, who is also American like her husband. The wife appears to be miserable in the relationship, and this can be supported by the commentary “it isn’t any fun to be a poor kitty out of the rain…” This statement is evidence of her loneliness, longing for something else, and misery hence the relation of her life to that of the kitten (Hemingway 2). The gender role is ambiguous especially when it comes to assessing the progressiveness of the rules imposed on the women. The story is written in a time of radical transformation, yet it depicts the constantly dictated rules surrounding a woman’s behavior.
George reveals a condensing attitude towards his wife, and that originates from the gender stereotyping that is toxically cultivated in society and significantly affects the women. Women are viewed as weak and dependent compared to men, who are viewed as powerful and independent. That is evident in the scene where George’s wife tells his husband that she wanted to head out and save the cat from the rain. George is against the idea, and he opposes that while suggesting that he would go for the cat himself. Additionally, George is against the idea of his wife keeping long hair and wants her to keep it short because he likes that appearance. This implies that his wife’s presence existed just for his consumption. Nonetheless, the wife’s perspective on gender roles is different – she revolts on the feminine passivity declared by the men like her husband George. In as much as she bears and embraces the traditional female identity, she, in some instances, steps aside from the implied passivity by her husband. This evidenced by her walking out to get a look at the cat, yet the husband had promised to take care of it. This is an act of opposition to her husband’s presumed weakness and incapability to do things by herself.

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