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I will argue that the choices in imagery in Cat in the Rain are fundamental in the construction of the female

protagonists wish for a child. I will outline how Hemingway uses metaphors, similes, synecdoche and metonymy to symbolise the lack of fertility the American woman possesses and how this prominence may overemphasise through the choice of language to the reader. Through a literal reading of the text the audience may come to the conclusion that the story is simply about an American womans longing for a cat. However as Fenton and astute readers have observed, this is a allegory: ...Cat in the Rain is, which deals, although this is not said, with another woman who wants a child.1 Hemingway has strategically used a range of linguistic techniques to infer the wish for a baby. For instance, a clear example of metaphor is the rubber cape for a prophylactic, as Lodge quotes Hagopian: The rubber cape is a protection from rain, and rain is a fundamental necessity for fertility and fertility is precisely what is lacking in the American wife's marriage.2 This pathetic fallacy is the most mentioned symbol in the text. In the subtext the reader can infer that George and the Italian maid are vehicles to voice the womans lack of fecundity. The metonym of the umbrella in this situation becomes a double entendre for the female genitalia when given sexual reading. The maid and husband insists she must not get wet which is euphemistic for her vulva not getting moist from the secretion of vaginal fluids or semen entering her. She instead finds herself being treated more like a child:

1 2

Ernest Hemingway, James Fenton (ED), The Collected Stories, (Everymans Library, 2005), p.xxi David Lodge, Analysis and Interpretation of the Realist Text: A Pluralistic Approach to Ernest Hemingways Cat in the Rain, Poetics Today, Vol. 1 No.4. (Duke University Press, 1980), p.12

At the moment she discovers the cat is gone, she is no longer described as the American Wife, but as the American girl; it was almost as if she was demoted in femininity by failing to find a creature to care for. 3 This particular choice of phrase highlights the womans apparently inadequate maternal ability. the American girl as a metonym is associated with innocence and wholesome, unassuming womanliness. Her femininity is demoted further in the simile: ...clipped close like a boys4 She represents somebody innocent yet mescaline, certainly somebody not ready to look after a child. She says she is tired of looking like a boy. She clearly feels she is ready for a baby, yet her husband wants the situation to remain the same. When analysing from the perspective of the female wanting a child the narrative can become tedious as the sentiments are underlined with constant repetitions, like in her Veruca Salt-like outburst: I want a cat. I want a cat now. If I cant have long hair or any fun, I can have a cat. 5 This entire sentence is her protest for her want to be a maternal woman. Something the audience will already be aware of if they have been noticing the nuances in the writing. This could be a case of gilding the lily. As author and journalist Christopher Hitchens comically comments: get the sense that Hemingway in both fiction and non that he was trying too hard6

"John V. Hagopian, Symmetry in "Cat in the Rain, College English Vol. 24, No. 3 (Dec., 1962), (National Council of Teachers, 1962), p. 221
4 5

Ernest Hemingway, James Fenton (ED), The Collected Stories, (Everymans Library, 2005), p.108 Ernest Hemingway, James Fenton (ED), The Collected Stories, (Everymans Library, 2005), p.109

As I have clearly argued, Hemingways primary motive for A Cat in the Rain is not about a womans unknown desire for a cat. This is actually a story that is an allegory for the American womans broodiness for a child. I have also shown to a certain faction of his audience Hemingway actually overemphasises the underbelly of his text to the point of tedium, which is an achievement in the works own right in such a short story.

Author Christopher Hitchens, (August 15th 2010 )<> accessed 11th September 2011