The American wife

The main character of “Cat in the Rain” by Ernest Hemingway is an American woman who is on a holiday in Italy with her husband George. The fact that they travel to Italy suggests that they are well-off financially. The woman speaks a little Italian: “ ‘Il piove,’ the wife said.” 

There is little reference to the American woman's outer characterisation in the story. Hemingway sometimes refers to her as the “American girl”, which suggests that she is young. She has short hair, which was fashionable for young women in the 1920s: “George looked up and saw the back of her neck, clipped close like a boy’s.” 

Inner characterisation

The woman’s short hair also contributes to her inner characterisation, as it suggests that she likes to be fashionable.

When we first meet the American wife, she wants to rescue a cat that she sees crouching underneath a table outside the hotel, trying to shelter from the rain. This depicts the wife as caring and compassi...

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