Cat in the Rain: Desolation and Curiosity
Symbolism has been brought forth tremendously into this bitter-sweet story, “Cat in the Rain” regarding relatability. An American woman on a trip to Europe is solely fixated on one thing, and it isn’t the fascinating views overlooking the small-scaled Mediterranean town, from her hotel window. She is certainly staring out of her window, but at what? A tortoiseshell cat is capturing the American girl’s attention. This desolated cat is curious to find warmth in some kind of shelter, and that American woman is yearning for the same exact thing. The themes that will be discussed among the cat and woman are desolation and curiosity.
To understand the two themes, I have chosen; we must discuss the meanings of them first to get a complete grasp. Desolation by its definition is a, “deprivation of companionship, loneliness”. Now as for the second theme: curiosity means, “the desire to learn or know about anything, inquisitiveness”. You may be wondering, “How can curiosity be any good for either the cat or the woman? Especially, if there’s a saying that discussed curiosity killed the cat.” Yes, in most times that would be the case, the cat would die from its curiosity. In this case, the cat having the curiosity in finding warmth in some kind of shelter actually led it into a woman’s affectionate grasp. Just as the cat found warmth in that American woman’s arms, so did that American woman finding warmth within that cat’s purring of joy.
The American woman in the beginning of, “Cat in the Rain” had her mind set on getting this poor little kitten out in the rain and into a warm comforting place. “With the maid holding the umbrella over her, she walked along the gravel path until she was under their window. The table was there, washed bright green in the rain, but the cat was gone.” (Hemingway, Cat in the Rain) The themes of desolation and curiosity of found within this area of the text. The woman was lacking a companion and felt the betrayal all over again when the cat was no longer where she seen it last. The cat on the other hand must’ve been curious to find another shelter due to the rain dipping on its warm fur coat. As the woman was still curious to find this cat, they spotted another, but it wasn’t the one she laid her eyes on to begin with.
As the maid brought the American woman back inside to keep from getting wet, she arrived to her room to find her husband lying in the same spot reading the same book. She then headed towards the windy to see the skies remained the same…dark and sad. She then said aloud to her husband, “‘Anyway, I want a cat,’ I want a cat. I want a cat now. If I can’t have long hair or any fun, I can have a cat.’” This goes to show how desolated she was, lacking affection and longing for a companion and happiness. The cat in other words, shared a similar experience… if you couldn’t have that table give it shelter and warmth it would have to move onto the next. In the end the one man that was paying attention to the woman’s needs brought her up the tortoiseshell cat she longed for.
All and all, curiosity led all of these characters together. The woman who was curious about the cat, and the cat who was curious about shelter, and the man who was curious about the woman’s needs all took part in getting the happiness they all wanted. The cat and woman related to one another because they were in a state of desolation. The cat symbolized the woman and the woman symbolized the cat.
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