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Analyzing Cat in the Rain from a Psychological Perspective

Modern psychology, even though a fairly new and largely still-debated scientific field, focuses on not how people do particular things, but why. Most individuals would agree that contemporary psychology began with Sigmund Freud in the early 1900s. Freud’s most essential operate includes his belief in the subconscious mind—a place that, though we are not aware of the impact, secretly plays a role in the factors we say, do, and even dream. Since then, psychology has continued to develop and develop thanks to B.F. Skinner, Pavlov, Maslow, and other contributors that have continued to evolve Freud’s initial thoughts and develop key strides towards figuring out why humans act and react in specific ways. Freud asserted that literature itself was a variety of “day-dream” and that the author could be psychoanalyzed primarily based upon their writings (Lynn 200). According to Lynn, the critic should “go beyond biological details to expose the underlying motivation” (200). Moreover, a critic could also psychoanalyze a character inside the text to try to bring to the surface what the character’s accurate motives are, which can also give some insight into the author. In order to efficiently execute a psychological criticism in terms of a character within a text, the critic need to be both inventive and have a common understanding of psychological terms in order to “diagnose” the character, which will in the end bring the motives of the character into the foreground. For the purposes of psychological criticism, the short fiction of modernist Ernest Hemingway—particularly his relationship-oriented narrative “Cat in the Rain”—is specifically instructive.

Ernest Hemingway’s brief story “Cat in the Rain” tells the tale of a young American couple traveling in Italy after the war. The married couple is the only Americans at a small hotel near the ocean. It is raining, so they are stuck together in their tiny hotel space, and the wife is hunting out the window when she notices a cat hunkered under a table attempting to maintain dry. The wife tells her husband, “It’s no entertaining to be a kitty out in the rain” (Hemingway 93). The wife goes out to rescue the cat, but when she goes around the constructing, the cat is gone. The wife returns to the hotel area, where her husband George is still reading. He continues to ignore her as she tells him about all the factors she wants: a cat, lengthy hair, silver, a table, and new garments (Hemingway 94). George tells her to shut up. At the end of the story, the maid at the hotel brings a cat to the space, though it is unclear no matter whether or not it is the exact same cat from outdoors. The American woman manages to give several aspects of her psyche to analyze, in spite of the story getting only 3 pages long. There is proof of each isolation and displacement, each of which are coping mechanisms that the woman uses to deal with the truth that she is becoming ignored by her husband and longs for a stable, a lot more domestic life. Eventually, the cat in the rain grow to be a symbol for what the lady truly wants—a domestic life—and the woman’s isolation and displacement.

All through the course of the story, the American lady is ignored repeatedly by her husband George. The first instance occurs when the lady first says she desires to go out and support the kitty. Her husband does offer to go get it for her, but he in no way looks up from his book or makes any sort of motion to get up (Hemingway 91). The lady says she desires to go and ventures into the rain to retrieve the cat. Upon seeing the cat is no longer their, the woman returns to her hotel room, exactly where her husband is nevertheless reading in bed. He does ask if she discovered it, but returns to reading just before she answers him. When she muses about letting her hair grow out, he merely says that he likes it the way it is (Hemingway 95). The wife then goes on and on about all of the factors that she desires: “And I want to consume at a table with my personal 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” (Hemingway 96). George’s response is merely, “Oh, shut up and get something to read” (Hemingway 96). The wife resumes insisting that she wants a cat, but Hemingway tends to make it apparent that the husband is not listening to her musings. It is apparent in this story that the marriage is clearly lacking some thing and that the wife is not dealing with it in a mentally sound and healthy way. Despite being repeatedly ignored and even after insulted, the wife by no means seems to directly to react to her husband’s mistreatment. Psychologically, this is known as isolation, which is “understanding that anything ought to be upsetting but failing to react to it” (Lynn 205). The fact that the wife fails to react to the rudeness of her husband implies that she is maybe immune to this behavior, which means it is a typical occurrence. In “We Are All Cats in the Rain”, White describes the husband’s behavior as “[refusing to indulge] her the youngster in her” (White 253). The wife ought to get in touch with out her husband’s behavior or at the extremely least, show some physical sign off annoyance. Instead, even though, she never even reacts at all. However, her lack of reaction is enough evidence to show that she is utilizing isolation as a coping mechanism. She is clearly unhappy in her marriage and seems to be accustomed to his behavior.

Yet another coping mechanism we see the American wife employ a number of times is displacement, which according to Lynn is “shifting an emotion from the actual target to a distinct one” (203). The lady practices this defense mechanism in two instances. The first one is with the cat itself. She becomes fixated on wanting the cat she sees out in the rain. In truth, she mentions wanting the cat verbally ten instances in the three-web page story. The cat becomes a symbol for what she actually deeply desires: anything to care for. Several past critics have surmised that the cat represents a child, but I stay unconvinced. The lady simply wants something to care for and one thing to get affection from. The other instance occurs with the hotel owner at the beginning of the story. She likes him a lot—a concerning amount—when all he does is his job. The text repeats the redundancy used with the cat: “She liked the deadly serious way he received complaints. She liked his dignity. She liked the way he wanted to serve her…. She liked…. She liked…. She liked… (Hemingway 92). It is his job to make confident she has a pleasant remain, but rather than acknowledging he is doing a very good job, she more than-reacts to his service, mistaking it for affection. She misplaces his consideration because she is starved for affection and just desires to be heard and treated as although she is important. Ultimately, the key symbol of the story is the cat. The cat triggers in her the notion that she could have one thing to take care of and get affection from and that concept clearly resonates with her. She longs for stability—for her table and her lengthy hair, things she associates with a domestic lifestyle. Hemingway’s Theatre of Masculinity describes her obsession with the cat as a result of “the lack of physical and emotional help from George” (Strychaz 67). She identifies with the cat because she as well is a cat in the rain—trapped in a little space that she does not want to be in.

“Cat in the Rain” therefore gives us a glimpse into the marriage of a young, American couple traveling Europe soon after the war. The wife is feeling neglected to the point where she no longer reacts. She yearns for a steady, domestic life in which she can develop out her hair, have her own fancy mirror and silverware, and probably even a baby. She desires to really feel affection and wants one thing to take care of. It is clear, short as this glimpse into these lives is, that this is an unhappy marriage that may eventually finish in failure. This can be implied into the life of Hemingway himself: an unhappy marriage, a neglected wife, a cat, and the strife of a infant. He has written it over and more than once again. Perhaps Freud is correct: we really are hunting into Hemingway’s day-dreams when we read his stories. Perhaps Hemingway’s wife is the correct cat in the rain.

Works Cited

Hemingway, Ernest. “Cat in the Rain”. In Our Time, Scribner, 2003, pp 91-four. Lynn, Steven. Texts and Contexts: Writing About Literature with Crucial Theory, Pearson, 2017. Strychaz, Thomas. Hemingway’s Theatres of Masculinity. Louisianna State University Press, p. 65-72. White, Gertrude M. “We’re All Cats in the Rain”. Fitzgerald/Hemingway Annual, 1978, pp 241-six.
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