In the Skin of a Lion

Cato Character Analysis

Alice Gull’s lover is a political activist who never appears directly in the novel. His political work forces him to keep a secret identity, and all that is known about him is that Cato is his war name. Alice and he share an intensely passionate relationship, marked by the secrecy of Cato’s work. He sacrifices his private life for the political cause he believes in, putting his own life at risk—and ultimately being killed—to organize unions and defend the rights of vulnerable members of the working class.

Cato Quotes in In the Skin of a Lion

The In the Skin of a Lion quotes below are all either spoken by Cato or refer to Cato. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Working Class vs. the Rich Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of In the Skin of a Lion published in 1987.
Part 2: Chapter 1: Palace of Purification Quotes

His own life was no longer a single story but part of a mural, which was a falling together of accomplices.

Page Number: 145
Explanation and Analysis:
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Cato Character Timeline in In the Skin of a Lion

The timeline below shows where the character Cato appears in In the Skin of a Lion. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2: Chapter 1: Palace of Purification
The Working Class vs. the Rich Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
...he feels awake and energetic. Patrick remembers a comment Clara had made about Alice after Cato, Hana’s father, died. She said that Alice experienced something akin to madness and extreme loneliness. (full context)
Community and Immigrant Culture Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
...around the bakery. One night, Hana shows Patrick some old photographs and tells him about Cato, her father, whom she never knew. Noticing a picture of people on the bridge, Patrick... (full context)
The Working Class vs. the Rich Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
One day, Alice shares with Patrick parts of her love story with Cato. She explains that Cato was his war name and that, because of his need to... (full context)
Community and Immigrant Culture Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Literature, Imagination, and Creativity Theme Icon
...he realizes that he is now part of a web of stories—Alice’s love story with Cato, Hana’s friendship with the baker—and wonders if Alice was a nun. (full context)
The Working Class vs. the Rich Theme Icon
Community and Immigrant Culture Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Patrick remembers lying on Alice’s stomach and listening to stories about her relationship with Cato. She explains that he was born in the north, the son of a Finnish family.... (full context)
The Working Class vs. the Rich Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
One day, Hana hands Patrick a letter Cato wrote to Alice while working as a logger in the winter and living what would... (full context)