Lexical Categories and Literary Effect in the 'Cat in the Rain'
In the short story A Cat in the Rain written by Ernest Hemmingway, there are several lexical categories which are nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. There are also multiple figures of speech including symbolism and tone that are present in the story. Every lexical categories and figures of speech found in this excerpt contributes to the short story as it implied a certain meaning that can greatly affect the readers and the plot of the story.
Firstly, in the first paragraph, the phrase it was raining plays a significant role in the short story. Raining is a verb. It is a dynamic verb as it refers to actions and does not describes relationship between things. Raining refers to the movement of drips of water falling from the sky. Raining plays an important role to the story as it will contribute to the beginning of the conflict in the short story. In addition, rain is also associated with sadness and gloominess. This symbolises the emotion of the main character of the short story, the American wife who is probably feeling sad and devastated. This can be proven because the wife was unhappy with the way the husband was treating her. For example, in the second paragraph, the wife was standing and looking out of the window. It is evident that the couple lacked affection because if they were having a romantic relationship, she would not have been standing by the window but rather, she would be by the husband’s side.
Secondly, the word bowed in the phrase the wife went downstairs and the hotel owner stood up and bowed to her as she passed the office is also important to the short story. The word bowed is a verb. It is a dynamic verb as it describes the movement of a person doing the action and in this scenario, it is referring to the physical movements of the hotel owner towards the American wife. This shows that the hotel owner has a high sense of courtesy as he respects the American wife as a customer. Although the hotel owner is probably richer and has a higher status compared to the American wife, he did not show any signs of rudeness or impoliteness. He simply bowed to show his respect and appreciation to the American wife. Hence, this shows that the word bowed is important because it tells the readers about the character of the owner of the hotel.
Other than that, the phrase it’s a bad weather also plays an important part to the short story. The word bad describes the weather, which makes it as an adverb. The word bad was not mentioned frequently but it is still crucial to the setting of the story. This is because it indicates that something terrible is going to happen in the story later. Moreover, this is the starting point of the relationship between the wife and the owner of the hotel. They had a conversation and this is the moment where the American wife thinks that the hotel owner is an attractive man. This shows that the wife was having a conflict with the husband and rather than solving it, she decided to run away from the problems. Not to mention, George was also acting very passive towards his own wife. This can be proven because George had allowed his wife to go down and rescue the cat even when the weather was bad. If he cared for his wife, he would not have let her go on her own especially when it was pouring outside. Thus, this just proves that George and the wife were having troubles.
The next phrase that plays a significant role in the story is dim room in paragraph eleven. The word dim describes the room which makes dim as an adjective and it is a visual as it is visible to the eyes. It is gradable in the sense that it can be compared in degree of the brightness. It is also an attributive because the narrator used it to describe the condition of the room. In addition, the dim room symbolises hope in a deserted place. This is because the wife felt trapped in the hotel room. As soon as she stepped out of her hotel room, she came across the hotel owner who was sitting at the far end of the dim room. Before she met the hotel owner, she felt suffocated and the dim room gave her comfort in the sense that she was not alone and she can get through it with the help of the owner of the hotel. This can be proven because the wife thought so dearly of the padrone as he made her felt important, something that lacked from her relationship with her husband. For example, in one of the paragraph in the short story, the wife stated that “The padrone made her feel very small and at the same time really important. She had a momentary feeling of being supreme important.” Hence, this proves that the hotel owner represents hope as the wife felt safe and warmth whenever the hotel owner was around.
Other than that, another adverb that was found in this short story is it was raining harder. Harder describes the rain and it is only mentioned once but it has a deeper meaning to the story. This is because the phrase it was raining harder changes the tone of the short story. The tone changes from admiring to melancholy. This is because the phrase indicates foreboding of the wife’s failed to find the cat she so wanted and the disappointment afterwards. For example, the wife was utterly devastated with the fact that she did not managed to save the cat in the rain. This can be proven because the wife clearly said that she wanted the kitty badly in a conversation with her husband. “I wanted that poor kitty. It isn’t any fun to be a poor kitty out in the rain.” Thus, this proves that the tone is melancholy as it focuses on the emotions of the wife who was saddened with the fact that she failed to find the cat.
The next symbol that can be found in the short story is the title itself which is the cat in the rain. The cat represents the American wife because cat is often associated as a needy and fragile creature. The same thing goes to the wife. She lacks affection from the husband and just like the cat, she wanted to be ‘pet.’ In her scenario, all she ever wanted was the affection from the husband. She wanted to feel safe and giddy in the inside but the husband failed to provide it. On the other hand, the rain represents the husband. The rain is known to be dangerous and gloomy which indicates that the husband lacks communication and attention to the wife. George made the wife felt unwanted and her desire was clearly unfulfilled by the husband. She needed to feel safe and the owner of the hotel made her feel safe and most importantly, he made her felt needed. This clearly shows that the owner of the hotel is the table that was used by the cat to shield from the rain. Hence, the table represents the hotel owner and that explains why the wife adores the owner of the hotel so much.
Lastly, the phrase George was reading again also contributes to short story. The word again is an adverb. Again is an adverb of frequency. It is used to express time or the oftenest of an occurrence. In this case, the word again is used to emphasize the act of reading. George was reading during the entire time when his wife went downstairs to save the cat while it was pouring. This clearly shows that the husband did not care about his wife as he was more into his books compared to his own wife. Not to mention, they were at Italy for a romantic honeymoon but instead of giving his wife the affection that she desperately needed, he decided to read some books. Thus, this proves that the American wife longed for the affection from her husband.
In conclusion, lexical categories and figures of speech are essential as it will give more impacts to the short story. The writer/narrator has to be able to play with words so that it will give the readers a certain feelings and imaginations in order to make it more interesting. Thus, these lexical categories and figures of speech are the main elements that influence the readers to arrive at a certain conclusion of the short story.