the cop and the anthem summary and analysis

The Cop And The Anthem Summary And Analysis

The Cop And The Anthem is written by O. Henry and the short story is set in earlier 20th century. We are introduced to a homeless man and get to know about him through some significant events taking place in his life during those two days. 

The Cop And The Anthem Summary Pdf

Around Madison Square, Soapy is lounging on a bench. He understands that winter is approaching and he won’t be able to continue living in an uncovered area in the chilly weather. He requires lodging throughout these chilly winters. He used to tuck a newspaper under his coat to protect himself from the cold, but this winter it was useless. Finally, he made a decision that would do something that will lead the police to arrest him and send him to jail for three months in Blackwell’s Island prison. So he went to a posh restaurant and prepared himself to look like a customer. He acquired a decent image by straightening his coat and appearance and wore a tie too.

He had a flawless plan: go to the restaurant, eat as much as he wanted, and when the bill came, he wouldn’t have any money to pay it, so the owner would throw him in jail. He tried to enter the restaurant, but the waiter stopped him at the door and forbade him after observing his appearance. However, he didn’t give up and went to another restaurant. When asked for a bill after eating there, he replied that he was out of money. Nonetheless, the waiters threw him out of the restaurant by themselves rather than notifying the police about him.

After encountering failure at almost every step, he still didn’t give up and threw a stone at a window of a luxurious shop, breaking it. Fortunately, Soapy caught the attention of a police van that was driving by and they stopped. They believed that if he had genuinely shattered the window, he would have fled like any other individual, therefore they decided against detaining him. However, he stood still at the place of crime. Even his third attempt was unsuccessful, and he escaped arrest. Ultimately, Soapy made the bold decision to act in a way that will result in his detention. He now intended to harass a woman.

Yet when he attempted to do the same, the woman began to follow Soapy after becoming drawn to him. But Soapy was adamant, so he made the decision to act drunken and cause a disturbance by bothering others in the hopes that the police would arrest him. When he approached the police, he became intoxicated and began acting like one. However, the police decided against making an arrest because they believed he was a college student celebrating a recent victory in a college football game. Again, Soapy’s strategy fell flat.

His last resort now was to steal a man’s umbrella. He approached the man and grabbed the umbrella from him while claiming ownership. Instead of reporting him to the authorities, he admitted that he was the one who found the umbrella and that it might have belonged to Soapy. He walked to a quiet street because he was worn out after failing multiple times. He entered the church after spotting it on the street. There, he heard a religious song or anthem that brought back memories of his earlier days with friends and family. He felt empowered by the music and made plans to stand back up at his feet. He desired to abandon everything in order to begin a new life and build a better future for himself, beginning with securing a job. 

But as soon as he felt an arm over him, he realized it was a police officer. He was now taken into custody for loitering and being homeless. He was presented to a judge the following morning, who sentenced him to a three-month in prison.

What I Mean…

O. Henry is popular for giving ironic endings to his work and one fine example of his style was The Cop And The Anthem. We saw how the universe worked against our protagonist when he desired that one thing but finally listened to his wish when he decided to give up and become a nice man. If you found the summary useful and need other such works then you can also get summaries of The Assistant and Grapes Of Wrath.

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