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Writing Prompt:

As in many stories by Hemingway, little actually happens in this story. Are there underlying emotions that make the characters' dialogue mean more than the words themselves mean? What significance do you attach to the few actions that do occur? The title seems to emphasize the importance of the incident? What makes the cat important? How does this incident give us insight into the relationship between the husband and wife? Write an essay in which you explain the significance of the cat in "Cat in the Rain." Argue for your position by using evidence from the story in the form of quotations or paraphrases, as well as your own interpretations and knowledge, to support your thesis. Your essay will be evaluated for both its content and its development (that is, both the interpretation and the thesis, paragraphing, use of evidence, and other elements of essay writing).

I. Pre-reading Activity: Begin by setting up background information for students. Write the major points on the board as students discuss what they know (or dont know) hand out the KWL chart if necessary. 1. Who was the author Ernest Hemingway? ( see biography above) Some points to make to students: Hemingways frequently failed relationships with women, were often reflected in the negative way he wrote about them in many of his stories (either as sex objects, or as being fatal to men). For example, in his biography under Themes, According to Rena Sanderson, early Hemingway critics lauded his male-centric world of masculine pursuits, and the fiction divided women into castrators or love-slaves. Interestingly, when Hemingway wrote Cat In The Rain, it was about this time that he was having marriage difficulties with his first wife, and although Hemingway claimed this was not the case, there is this statement from his biography, Hemingway uses the cat stuck in the rain with nobody to care for it to symbolize the wife who longs to be loved. Hemingway claims in a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald that the story was not about his marriage to his first wife, which was falling apart at the same time the story was written. You might also point out to students that many of his war experiences were horrific, and left impressions on him that he often wrote about, hence his reference to the war monument several times in Cat in the Rain. 2. Additional themes Hemingway liked to write about were masculinity, war, hunting, bonding between members of the same sex, love, development and adaptation, maturity, and responsibility. See if students can pick up some of theses themes after reading Cat In The Rain. 3. Name other well known books written by Hemingway. The Sun Also Rises (novel 1926) A Farewell to Arms (novel1918) The Old Man and the Sea ( novel 1951). Others are mentioned in his biography. II. While reading Activites Vocabulary in Context

Place students in groups with the following directions. The following sentences and words in bold font are taken from the story, have them infer the meanings. They can use a dictionary to check their answers. Highlight any other unknown words they may come across. 1. There were big palms and green benches in the public garden. 2. In the good weather there was always an artist with his easel. 3. Italians came from a long way off to look up at the war monument. It was made of bronze and glistened in the rain. 4. Water stood in pools on the gravel paths. 5. Outside right under their window a cat was crouched under one of the dripping green tables. 6. .lying propped up with the two pillows at the foot of the bed. 7. Il piove, the wife said 8. She liked the deadly serious way he received any complaints 9. She liked his dignity. 10. Perhaps she could go along under the eaves. 11. The padrone bowed from his 12. Looking at her profile again 13. clipped close like a boys. 2. List the characters in the story as you read. Questions for Comprehension: 1. Who is the protagonist in this story? From whose point of view is the story being told? 2. What country are they visiting? How do you know? 3. Name several characteristics that the American wife liked about the hotelkeeper. 4 Who brought the woman an umbrella? Why? 5. Why does the maid tell her to come back inside? 6. How does the padrone make the American wife feel? 7. Does her husband really feel bad for her having not found the cat? How do you know? 8. What is the wife thinking about doing with her hair? 9. Why does she want to let her hair grow? 10. What is her husbands response?

11. What other things does the wife say that she wants? 12. What is her husbands reply to this? III. Post-Reading: Questions for Reflection In groups have students answer the following questions. 1. Who is narrating the story? 2 What are some of the conflicts in the story? 3. What are some of the themes in the story? 4 . What are some of the symbols in the story? 5. Identify one example of how Hemingway used imagery. 6. Did you get the impression that the man and the wife were happy? Why Why not? 7. The narrator give us the name of the husband , (George) however, we never learn the wifes name. At one point shes even referred to as American girl Why do you think the author did this? Hint: think about some of the experiences Hemingway went through with the women in his life. Writing Assignment 1. Students could choose one of the themes and write an essay, giving their point of view. For example, if they choose the theme loneliness, some thoughts might be: Is it possible for a married person to be lonely? If a person is lonely and married, what should they do about it? have they (the student) ever experienced loneliness? 2. Have students write a short description for each character in the story. 3. Have students write a different ending for the story.

Answers for Cat in The Rain


While Reading Activities 1. There are only four characters: the husband, the wife, the owner of the hotel, and a maid. However, the story centers around the husband and the wife. Vocabulary 1. palms n. any of numerous plants of the family Palmae, most species being tall, unbranched trees surmounted by a crown of large pinnate or palmately cleft leaves.

2. artist n. a person who produces works in any of the arts that are primarily subject to aesthetic criteria. 3. easel n. a stand or frame for supporting or displaying at an angle an artists canvas, a blackboard. 4. war monument n. is a building, statue or other edifice to celebrate a war or victory, or (predominating in modern times) to commemorate those who died or were injured in war. 5. bronze n. is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. glistened v. to reflect a sparkling light or a faint intermittent glow; shine lustrously. 6. gravel n. small stones and pebbles, or a mixture of these with sand. 7. crouched v. o bend close to the ground, as an animal preparing to spring or shrinking with fear. 8. dripping v. to let drops fall; shed drops. 9. propped v. to rest (a thing) against a support. 10. Il piove (Italian: [It's raining] 11. complaints n. an expression of discontent, regret, pain, censure, resentment, or grief; lament; 12. dignity n. bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation. 13. eaves n. the overhanging lower edge of a roof. 14. padrone n. an innkeeper. profile n. the outline or contour of the human face, especially the face viewed from one side. 15. clipped v. to cut, or cut off or out, as with shears Answers for Comprehension 1. The wife is the protagonist. The story is being told from the wifes point of view by a narrator. 2. The wife, hotelkeeper and maid speak Italian. 3. She liked the deadly serious way he received any complaints, his dignity, his old, heavy face and big hands. 4. The maid. Because the Hotel Keeper told her to. 5. She didnt want the wife to get wet. 6. He made her feel very small and at the same time really important. 7. No. He continues to read his book. 8. Letting it grow out.

9. She wants a change of life, something new. 10. He says: I like it the way it is. 11. She says 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. 12. Oh, shut up and get something to read, III. Post Reading Questions for Reflection 1. A third (unknown) person is narrating, but the story is told from the wifes point of view. 2. (the wife wanting the cat, problems between the husband and wife, the wifes unhappiness, the wifes fixation with the hotelkeeper (because she is so unhappy, she might cheat on her husband with the hotelkeeper). 3. Some of the themes are unhappiness, loneliness, isolation, desiring to be with another person, infertility, lost love, motherhood. 4. The main symbol is the cat (the title of the story). We get the feeling that the animal is symbolic of the wife. We first see the animal in the rain wet, under one of the dripping green tables. The cat was trying to make itself so compact that she would not be dripped on. The husband tells her dont get wet, and the maid brings her an umbrella, so that she doesnt get wet. Like the cat, the woman hopes someone will rescue her. She feels alone and unloved by her husband. Another symbol is that of motherhood, or infertility. Several times the wife refers to the cat as a kitty making it sound vulnerable, and helpless, (much like a baby). The wife doesnt know why she desperately needs to get the cat, however this could also be her need to be a mother. It isnt clear why she has this need. She could have lost a baby, or for some reason she and her husband cant have children. Self-esteem might be another symbol. It is the hotel keeper who makes the wife feel very small and at the same time really important. She had a momentary feeling of being of supreme importance while her husband ignored her. this is an example of someone with low selfesteem. The war memorial can also be seen as another symbolic reference. It is mentioned several times during the story. This could mean that disaster is about to strike. 5. An example of the use of imagery is the way in which the weather is described There were big palms and green benches in the public garden. In the good weather there was always an artist with his easel. Artists liked the way the palms grew and the bright colors of the hotel facing the sea. This evokes the impression of happy times. Then Hemingway describes an atmosphere that is wet, bleak, and lonely. He states, The motor cars were gone from the square by the war monument. Across the square in the doorway of the cafe a waiter stood looking out at the empty square. This evokes a feeling of loneliness, or sadness.

6. We can feel the emptiness in the couples relationship through their interactions with each other. The husband is constantly reading, while the wife is constantly looking out f the window or going out after the cat. At one point he tells the wife to shut up and get something to read. The marriage has disintegrated. Neither one listens to the other any longer. 7. The fact that the wife is never mentioned by her name, but is always referred to as the wife might have been Hemingways method of showing the problems and the disconnection he was feeling from his real wife at the time he wrote this story. Writing Assignment Have students share their essays with the class, especially the ones who chose to write a different ending for the story.