The Importance of Reading Ernest discussion

Cat in the Rain > Repetition

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message 1: by Brad (last edited Jan 30, 2009 10:19AM) (new)

Brad (judekyle) | 219 comments Mod
In the opening paragraph, Hemingway repeats himself consistently: "war monument," "square," "rain" or "raining," then he ends the first paragraph with a waiter watching the rain and repeats the image immediately with the American girl watching the rain from her room.

I read the story out loud to my daughter and the repetitious language transformed. It can seem so simple on the page (but still beautiful in its simplicity), but when I was reading it out loud my voice started to take on a rhythm like rain itself. Drip drop, drip drop, drip drop, making the weather tangible in our reading. It is a wonderful effect.

Did anyone else notice this? Did the repetition do anything else for you? Did you just not like it at all?

message 2: by Arthur (new)

Arthur | 21 comments The husband is supportive but is involved of being an object just offering an opinion of what a real person should idealize. Or justify or value. He is conservative in his European meaning. He doesn’t seem European. He is a man and of his opinion, his cares. His is likely American, nothing else. The American wife is, I'm not sure I focused on repletion at all; in the story the wife was fresh, unique and soft. I didn't see much in the writing but that the American wife takes up the shoulder of the entire story. There is just room left to introduce a waiter, the other service, the end also with the wet cat.

message 3: by Preb (new)

Preb Knudsen | 17 comments Thank you, Brad, for your initiative. Hemingway wrote great short stories. I look forward the whole series. BUT ‘Cat in the Rain’ is not one of my favourites.

Just the same, I’m trying to understand what he wanted to achieve.

For me Hemingway is always about emotions. He saw something that made a strong impression on him – and wrote about it. Applies to all his stories. The shocking incident with the picador and the horse before ‘Cat’ is typical. Must have been an image he never forgot.

It’s significant, isn’t it, that Hem calls the female in the story for the wife, to start with? Then she becomes the girl (now we know she’s young). And at the end of the story she’s the wife again. Could her behaviour indicate that she’s feeling unsure of herself (girlishly immature) and deeply unhappy?

Also, as Brad pointed out elsewhere, the repetitions are typical of Hem. The wife ‘liked’ the hotel-keeper. One whole paragraph with ‘liked’. This lady is an emotional mess. She’s reaching out to cats and people. She wants to like and to love. And why wouldn’t she with such an indifferent husband.

I felt very sorry for her. She definitely needed love. And she told George that she wanted a home (with her own silver and candles) and a cat. But I think she really wanted a baby. And a life!

message 4: by Brad (new)

Brad (judekyle) | 219 comments Mod
Preb wrote: "I felt very sorry for her. She definitely needed love. And she told George that she wanted a home (with her own silver and candles) and a cat. But I think she really wanted a baby. And a life!

I've always had this little place in my head that said George and his wife are the couple in "Hills Like White Elephants." Now wouldn't that be something? And if they are then Preb is bang on with her need for a baby.

message 5: by Ruth (new)

Ruth I agree with Preb's assessment completely. I simply could not express it as well. Thanks

message 6: by Preb (new)

Preb Knudsen | 17 comments Thank you very much, Ruth and Brad.

I've been reading Hemingway all my life, but never really discussed the meanings with anybody. So, this is great. Nice to get feedback.

I really am looking forward to many more stories.
'Hills...' is a good one. And I always liked 'In Another Country' because of one special insight. Hem's own or something he heard. 'You must have things you can't lose', says the major.

But I'll be happy to comment on any story chosen.

Best wishes.

message 7: by Gary (new)

Gary | 400 comments Mod
I too noticed the repetition. I also felt the woman was looking to the cat for her happiness, because it was something she wanted,and could get, and george didn't put his book down long enough to give her that baby! i too felt the cat took the place of a child, something to love that would love her back,and give her attention.

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