One rainy day an American couple visiting Italy stayed in their hotel. The husband was reading in bed and the wife was standing by the window looking out at the view when she came across a cat crouched under a dripping green table. In a spirit of compassion, the wife decided to carry the cat back to her room in the rain. But when she got down, the cat was nowhere to be seen. The wife returned to her room in great disappointment. A maid was standing at the door with a large tortoise-shell cat, which the landlord had given to her wife.
The novel comes to a screeching halt, leaving the reader with plenty of room for imagination. Cat in the Rain is one of the few short stories that reflect female consciousness. In this novel, the heroine does not have a name, but the author gives her different titles in different situations. This paper analyzes the desire and awakening of the female subject consciousness of the hostess princess in the patriarchal society from the perspective of appellation. It embodies Hemingway’s simple narrative style and implicit stylistic characteristics.
The novel was written in the early 1920s, when the status of women in the United States was undergoing great changes. The new women redefined their roles in the family and society. They demanded to be equal to men and no longer played the roles played by traditional women who were sheltered and subordinate to men. In fact, the new women are more like men, looking and acting like tomboys: they wear short hair, short skirts, play golf, drive cars, smoke, and drink like men. They are open-minded, enthusiastic and pursue fun. Cat in the Rain fully reflects Hemingway’s profound thinking on the status of women in the family and society under the background of that time.
Cat in the Rain is one of Hemingway’s few works with a female protagonist. In this novel, Hemingway delicately described their inner desires, anguish, needs, words, and deeds from the perspective of women, conveying the subordination of women in the patriarchal society and their strong desire to change the situation. Even with the gradual awakening of their self-consciousness and their struggle against the society, the theme of women in the works is more implicit, profound, and thought-provoking, implying Hemingway’s understanding and attitude towards women.
As a nameless woman in ordinary life, the American wife has no choice and no ability to choose between inner needs (desires) and external temptations during the journey of life, so she can only create an unreal world for herself to seek temporary satisfaction through whispering. The reason why women have a special liking for cats is determined by the specific aesthetic characteristics and perceptual requirements of women under the social conditions at that time. A woman and a cat are naturally linked by her natural maternal instinct and compassion. Cat in the Rain inspired the American wife’s desire to find the lost self, which was the inevitable result of women’s understanding and thinking about their own destiny.