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Padrone to the Wife, George and the Cat---Analysis of Symbolized Figures in Cat in the Rain

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Padrone to the Wife, George and the Cat

---Analysis of Symbolized Figures in Cat in the Rain

Wang Wei

ⅠThe setting

Hemingway's short fiction Cat in the Rain carries more than one simple symbol that is worth thorough study. From the beginning the creation of the settings provides a rich atmosphere empty and bleak known as the consequent sense of loss afterwards the First World War Hemingway leaves us a hint repeating his main images in a visualized way. The "empty square", "public garden", "war monument", "big palms" and "artist" leap to the eyes to compose the term of "the Lost Generation". And there is depiction of sea. The author in his short space gives four forms of water: the sea, water stood in pools, the rain and the dripping water. As one of them, the sea at the beginning, "their room on the second floor facing the sea", equals the unknown and disorientation of people after the war, which foreshadows later contradictions.

The heroine

Ⅱ George and the Cat

The real heroine is, in fact, the tacit cat who bears so many allegories and initiates so many guesses. The cat, on the one hand, symbolizes the wife herself. She seems to connect with the cat. When she sees "a cat ... crouched under one of the dripping green tables," she feels in her heart a sympathy with her in that she is also confined by the restraint the society places her just as the cat is caged by the rain. Or we can say a proper paraphrase of the title, Cat in the Rain, shall be "Wife in the Cage." To be specific, the wife feels the restraint of her husband by his constant ignoring her "trivial" demands, so she tries to please him and she tries to make herself compact just like the cat.

A subtle variation occurs in the author's meticulous choice of words. A transformation fro "American wife" to the "American girl" implies the eagerness of the woman for freedom and independence. A girl seems to have less restraint due to her youth and innocence and bears more jauntiness as she likes the cat and calls her "kitty". The man, representing the community puts confinement on a youthful mind and even manages to disguise her effeminate quality as a tomboy, which shows again the depression and lifelessness of the time, forming a sharp contrast to the vigor and hope the soul of the wife stands for.

If we switch our train of thought, we can also regard the cat as George. When the wife finally gets to where the cat previously stayed, she finds the cat disappears and she feels disappointed. And disappointment is what her husband gives her as daily routines. She couldn't have imagined that her marriage would be like this before she married George. Marriage discontents her and at the same time gives her a sense of lack of safety. Deep in her disappointment lays fear for the unknownness of losing the security as a subordinate. That is to say, the wife is eager for independence, but on the other hand fears to be free. She lives in a contradiction that allows her make no change. The cat, in a certain degree, represents the change and substantially is part of the change. Same as the cat are her hair, dreaming candles, spring and "some new clothes". She wants something substantial to realize herself as a woman.

Ⅲ Padrone to the

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