Time: approximately 2 hours.
Objectives: Students will achieve a better understanding of the story by learning literary devices and terms (e.g., imagery, symbolism, protagonist, antagonist, setting) used for analyzing stories. They will also learn how to analyze the relationship between characters, and events and in the story using these literary devices.
Reading Strategies: Students will make predictions based on the title; draw conclusions and make generalizations about what they have read by utilizing background knowledge, looking for the main ideas, making notes, highlighting or underlining specific information, and by answering questions. They will learn new vocabulary through inference, highlighting unknown words, and using the dictionary.
Materials: Copies of: the short story Cat In the Rain, biography of Ernest Hemingway, examples of Components for Literary Analysis
I. Pre-reading Activities
Stimulating Background Knowledge
Write the major points on the board as students discuss what they know (or don’t know) about the author Ernest Hemingway. Students may use this K-W-L Chart from MSU for assistance.
- What do students know about Ernest Hemingway?
- What other books has he written?
- Some points of interest about Hemingway that provide some insights into the story Cat In The Rain.
- Hemingway’s frequently failed relationships with women, were often reflected in the negative way he wrote about them in many of his stories.
- When Hemingway wrote Cat In The Rain, it was about this time that he was having marriage difficulties with his first wife, although he denied this rumor.
- You might also point out to students that many of his war experiences were horrific, and left impressions on him that he often wrote about, hence his reference to the “war monument” several times in Cat in the Rain.
Analyzing headings and photos
Directions: Ask students to read the title of the short story. Then, have them examine the photo. Based on these sources, ask students to create a list of words and ideas that they think might be related to this article.
Prediction Organizer Chart
Directions: Students may use this reading chart by Pace High School as a pre-reading, while-reading and post-reading tool to aid their comprehension of the events in the story.
Organizer Chart for Analyzing Characters
Directions: Students may use this chart by Pace High School as a pre-reading, while-reading and post-reading tool to aid their comprehension of the characters in the story.
II. While Reading
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the short story. They may use a dictionary or thesaurus for assistance. Students can use the Word organizer from Enchanted Learning to assist them with new vocabulary.
- There were big palms and green benches in the public garden.
- In the good weather there was always an artist with his easel.
- Italians came from a long way off to look up at the war monument.
- It was made of bronze and glistened in the rain.
- Water stood in pools on the gravel paths.
- Outside right under their window a cat was crouched.
- She liked the deadly serious way he received any complaints.
- She liked his dignity.
- Perhaps she could go along under the eaves.
- He was looking at her profile again.
Questions for Comprehension
- Who are the characters in the story? List them as you read.
- Who is the protagonist in this story? From whose point of view is the story being told?
- What country are they visiting? How do you know?
- Name several characteristics that the American wife liked about the hotelkeeper.
- Who brought the woman an umbrella? Why?
- Why does the maid tell her to come back inside?
- How does the padrone make the American wife “feel”?
- Does her husband really feel bad for her having not found the cat? How do you know?
- What is the wife thinking about doing with her hair?
- Why does she want to let her hair grow?
- What is her husband’s response?
Discussion Questions for Reflection
Directions: In groups have students answer the following questions, then share their responses with the class.
- What are some of the conflicts in the story?
- What are some of the themes in the story?
- What are some of the symbols in the story?
- Identify one example of how Hemingway used imagery.
- Did you get the impression that the man and the wife were happy? Explain why or why not.
- Can you relate this story to Hemingway’s personal life? How?
- Students could choose one of the themes and write an essay, giving their point of view. For example, if they choose the theme loneliness, some thoughts might be: Is it possible for a married person to be lonely? If a person is lonely and married, what should they do about it? Have they (the student) ever experienced loneliness?
- Have students write a short description for each character in the story.
- Have students write a different ending for the story.