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Essay about The Cat and his Master

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The Cat and his Master

Puss in Boots is a strange little folk tale in which a talking cat performs deeds of heroism in order to further his master's lot in life. It is saddled with a moral which implies that through hard work and ingenuity one can rise above his station. This hardly seems to be the case, however, when we look at the contributions made by the miller's youngest son and master of the puss himself. Furthermore, the symbolism peppered throughout the tale would seem to indicate that there is more going on.

The tale begins with the death of a miller, who leaves his sole possessions to his three sons. The youngest of the sons winds up with nothing but what he believes to be a lowly cat, which he is convinced will be good
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The cat in turn becomes the son and the main protagonist of our story and the only character to go through a transformation. When viewed at this angle, the moral retains its truth.

The deeper story here seems to be a part coming-of-age, part underdog-overcoming-the-odds tale. The story begins with a miller. In a pre-industrial society, the miller would have had an important position, akin to a woodcutter. The miller was responsible for grinding corn into meal, essential in making bread and other staples. His death represents a lack of a provider in his sons' lives. The two elder sons are granted an inheritance that will allow them to make a living, but not the youngest, who gets the cat. The cat, a possession of the miller, also finds himself without a provider, and hatches a plan to prevent the son from eating him. In the course of the story, the son becomes as reliant on the cat as he was on his father. It is at this point that the cat replaces the son as a formal story element. In many respects, the cat and the son are two halves of the same character, their fates interlocked with one another. This is a deliberate device which reflects the medieval superstition that cats were somehow linked to their masters, as Robert Darnton suggests in his article "The Great Cat Massacre."

The cat asks for some boots to protect his feet from the thorny undergrowth. Putting boots on the cat reinforces the superstition and creates an
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