The short story “Cat Person” was published in 2017 during the #MeToo feminist movement. The movement spread over social media as a hashtag soon after film producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexually harassing and abusing his female employees.
The short story’s final part, which presents Margot and Robert’s sexual encounter, raises some questions about whether Margot was not actually a victim of sexual abuse. Although she initiates sex, Margot does not want to go on with it but feels that stopping things would upset Robert and be uncomfortable. Margot is also drunk when she has sex with Robert, which raises some questions about whether she openly gave her consent for the sexual encounter. While Margot’s experience is not a clear example of sexual abuse, it shows that many women have similar experiences and that society tends to teach women to put men’s desires and needs above their own.
Works with the same theme
The theme of miscommunication is also explored by Raymond Carver in the short story “A Serious Talk”. In the story, Burt and Vera a separated husband and wife fail to communicate properly about their feelings. Because he fails to express his feelings to his wife, Burt acts impulsively and proves that he is incapable of having a serious talk with her.
When you compare “A Serious Talk” with “Cat Person”, it would be a good idea to look at the male characters’ reactions. Both Burt and Robert have impulsive and hostile reactions, which reveal their emotional immaturity. The female characters, Vera and Margot, are both passive and unable to properly communicate their desires.
The short story “Chickamauga” by Ambrose Bierce illustrates the theme of fantasy versus reality. In “Chickamauga”, a deaf-mute boy chooses to create a world of fantasy that helps him overcome the cruel reality of war. He ignores the bodies of dead soldiers and the dangers around him until he realizes that his home is on fire.
When you compare “Chickamauga” with “Cat Person”, consider looking at the motivations behind the main characters’ desires to create a world of fantasy. In the boy’s case, the world of fantasy might help him overcome his illness and see himself as a hero. In Margot’s case, the fantasy she creates might come out of the desire to feel needed and appreciated. ...