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Cross-Cultural Communication 100 Years Ago

Autor:   •  August 8, 2016  •  Research Paper  •  922 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,120 Views

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Omarchy Agramonte

Professor Green

July 27, 2016

Composition 104

"Cross-Cultural Communication 100 Years Ago"  

All marriages have their share of problems. Ernest Hemingway’s “Cat in the Rain,” and Kate Chopin’s, “The Story of an Hour” presents two different stories about married women. Both stories took place about a century ago when marriage was far less an equal partnership. Deborah Tannen’s “Sex, Lies and Conversation; Why Is It So Hard for Men and Women to Talk to Each Other,” tells the reader that it is often a misunderstanding that causes disorders in marriages. Tannen explains how men and women communicate differently; she suggests that the understanding of cross-cultural communication can be the solution.

Hemingway’s “Cat in the Rain" shows a disconnection between the American wife and George, the husband. The American girl looks outside the window and sees a cat trying to stay dry during the rain storm. She is compelled to save this “kitty.” The word kitty is also a symbolism of loneliness. The American wife's persistence to call the cat kitty shows her desire to care and to be cared for. She expresses her wants to her husband, and George offers to get the kitty himself. The American wife answers George saying “no, I’ll get it. The poor kitty out trying to keep dry under a table” (paragraph 5). The American wife adds the last sentences not to seem demanding but prefers if her husband rescues the kitty. However, George does not catch on to the indirect implication his wife is making because “the husband went on reading, lying propped up with the two pillows at the foot of the bed” (6). If the American wife spoke more directly to her husband, he would have saved the cat from the drenching rain. Likewise, if George were to look at his wife more while they talked, the wife may not feel as though she is burdening her husband.  

            Tannen brings to light how “boys and girls tend to play with children of their gender . . . childhood socialization make talk between women and men like cross-cultural communication, heir to all the attraction and pitfalls of that enticing but difficult enterprise” (7). When George and the American wife talk afterward about her wanting to grow her hair, get a kitty, and get new clothes. George only tells her to shut up and read a book. According to Tannen, communication problems that endanger marriage can not be easily fixed. The topic of talk in a martial relationship requires a whole new thought process. If George and the American wife, saw their differences as cross-cultural rather than right and wrong, their marriage could flourish. Later in Tannen's essay, she mentions how ". . . men live in a hierarchical world, where talk maintains independence and status. They are on guard to protect themselves from being put down and pushed around," which brings us to Kate Chopin's "Story of an Hour." Where a woman named Louise wants power and freedom.


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