Cat in the Rain

This study guide will help you analyse the short story "Cat in the Rain" by Ernest Hemingway. You can also find a summary of the text as well as suggestions for interpreting it and putting it into perspective. 

Presentation of the text

Title: “Cat in the Rain” (1925)
Author: Ernest Miller Hemingway
Genre: Short story

Ernest Miller Hemingway (1899 –1961) was an American author and journalist. Hemingway won many awards for his works (including the Nobel Prize), and he is considered one of the most important American authors of the 20th century. He is known for novels like The Sun Also Rises (1926) and The Old Man and the Sea (1952), but he has also written many famous short stories. 

"Cat in the Rain" was first published in 1925, in Hemingway's short story collection In Our Time.

We also have a guide for the Danish version of the short story, "Kat i regnvejr".

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Title

The title of the short story “Cat in the Rain” by Ernest Hemingway indicates that the text will involve a cat in the rain. However, upon further analysis, readers can understand that the title is also symbolic.

The straightforward meaning of the title is revealed in the story when the main character, the American wife, spots a cat outside her hotel room, sheltering from the rain: “The American wife stood at the window looking out. Outside right under their window a cat was crouched under one of the dripping green tables.” (ll. 11-12). The American woman decides to rescue the cat but is faced with disappointment when she goes outside and cannot find it (ll. 31-32).

Back in her room, the woman starts a conversation with her husband George about the different things she wants:

‘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.’ (ll. 66-67)

When George ignores her, the American wife focuses on having a cat: “ ‘Anyway, I want a cat,’ she said, ‘I want a cat. I want a cat now. If I can’t have long hair or any fun, I can have a cat.’ ” (ll. 70-71)

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Cat in the Rain

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