Hemingway’s In Our Time-“Cat in the Rain”
1.) Composition History A.) Notes about his life with Hadley (Hemingway’s first wife) hint at a story ready to be
written, but abruptly postponed. B.) Hemingway’s earliest notes for “Cat in the Rain” were sketched in late February 1923 at Rapallo, the setting of the story. C.) After visiting Ezra Pound in Chambry-Sur- Montreux, Hemingway finished four pages of a manuscript, giving up in the process, labeling it as “False start Rapallo story possible Fascito Story.” D.) The manuscript establishes elements found in his finished product, such as the hotel, train trip from Genoa, and gives a nickname to the wife: Kitty. E.) A year later he returned to ...view middle of the document...
When I wrote that we were at Rapallo but Hadley was 4 months pregnant with Bumby. Hadley never made a speech in her life about wanting a baby because she had been told various things by her doctor and I’d no use going into all that.” B.) Jeffery Meyers claims that a doctor had told Hadley not to have a child or to abort the one she was carrying. C.) Ezra Pound lent Hemingway a copy of “The Waste Land,” the poem of Eliot’s that most profoundly influenced Hemingway’s fiction.
D.) A woman before her mirror, thinking of her hair and threatening some impulsive act to
bestir her supine and cynical companion and finally driven to a neurotic outburst, all derive from Elliot’s poem. E.) “A Game of Chess,” the monologue in Elliot’s “The Waste Land” depicts a conflict between the husband and the wife decision to have an abortion.
4.) Critical Studies A.) John Hagopian noted some of the thematic changes through the scenes in the terms for
the husband, the wife and her terms for the cat. In the first scene she is “the American wife,” he is “the husband,” and she refers to the cat as “the poor kitty,” a rejected title for the story. In the lobby scene, she is “the wife,” and there is no reference to the cat. Out in the square she becomes “the American girl,” and speaks of the cat, the kitty, and il gatto. Returning through the lobby she is “the American girl” or “the girl,” and the cat is not mentioned. Back in the room, the husband is named George, she becomes his “wife,” and the “poor kitty” becomes a “cat.” B.) The shift from “wife” to “girl” to “wife” coincide with that from “kitty” to “cat” to “kitty.” Aligning “kitty” with “wife” and “girl” with “cat.” These shifts according to Hagopian point to a crisis involving...