Cat in the Rain Versus Indian Camp

Topics: Ernest Hemingway, Woman, Cat Pages: 2 (815 words) Published: March 25, 2007

Essay: Discuss a textual element / textual elements that seem(s) to simultaneously occupy the helper and opponent positions (as defined in Greimas's actantial model) in ‘Cat in the rain' and ‘Indian Camp' by Ernest Hemingway.

Greimas states that elements in a text fulfil a position in his actantial model. We will discuss some textual elements in both ‘Cat in the rain' and ‘Indian Camp' by Ernest Hemingway that simultaneously occupy the helper and opponent positions. The helper promotes and the opponent opposes the subject's object.

‘Cat in the rain' is a story that deals with an American wife and her husband spending their holiday in an Italian hotel. According to Greimas's model the wife is the subject. George, her husband is the helper. The girl sees a cat under a table in the rain outside and she says "I'm going down and get that kitty" (line 17), but her husband wants to help her and offers "I'll do that" (line 18). Here the object is ‘to get that cat' and the helper is George, who supports her. When she decides that she herself will get that cat, he wants to be protective and says: "Don't get wet" (line 19). After her failed attempt of getting that cat, the wife goes back to their room. When she enters the room George puts down his book and asks her if she was able to get the cat. By putting his book down, he shows that he is interested in what she has on her mind. Another argument that George is the helper, is that on the moment the girl says that she doesn't like herself the way she looks, he confirms that she is beautiful, that he likes her the way she is (line 73).

Although it first seemed that George is the helper, when we read carefully, we see that George can also fulfil the position of the opponent in Greimas's actantial model. When the girl sees a cat in the rain, she feels the urge to protect that cat. This is what we call ‘childish behaviour': usually only children want to protect pets in the rain....
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