The Cop and the Anthem
“By nature and doctrines I am addicted to the habit of discovering choice places wherein to feed (O. Henry).” O.
Henry was an American writer also known as William Sydney Porter. O. Henry’s short stories are well known for their wit, wordplay, warm characterization and the clever twist endings like The Cop and the Anthem. In the short story, The Cop and the Anthem, the main character Soapy in which every action that he takes creates a reaction opposite to the one he wishes. Soapy is a bum who tries to commit an act that will put him in jail for shelter rather than be living in the streets, especially in the upcoming harsh winters. By means in the story, he is pretty much denying the charity from the wealthy people.
Using Marxist criticism, a reader can analyze the aspects of crime, poverty, and moral values. “Soapy, having decided to go to the island, at once set about accomplishment of his desire.” “There were many ways of doing this (The Cop).” The crime Soapy wants to commit is to keep him in jail for sheltering, food, and clothing. But, how would he accomplish without getting severely punished? Soapy had came up with criminal tasks to regain shelter for the upcoming winters. “Soapy had confidence in him from the lowest button of his vest upward (The Cop).
” Ironically, Soapy committed the crime but did not act in a criminal way to get charged with a felony to get imprisonment during the winter months. He had no luck there and soon had to figure out a way to live out on his own. “However, I am no typical homeless urban drug ad, I am homeless by choice. I’m college educated. Though I am balding a wrinkled.
My homelessness is a statement against the materialistic modern world (Ramblings).” This short story has the feel of unexpected events of life’s natural rhythms. Soapy is an unfortunate well being that is dealing with poverty. He indeed suffers from the hunger and waiting for someone dropping money to go buy something to munch on or quench his thirst. “Success would be his, if he could reach a restaurant table unsuspected (The Cop).
” Soapy would also wait outside of restaurants where a family would be enjoying a nice meal, and he would try to sneak by when they got their backs turned to steal meals and would feed himself. “I claimed I knew life’s natural rhythm before. I was strong. Life has a never-changing beat, more like the flutter of wind chimes (Ramblings).” Soapy knew the hard work and effort he would have to put into having a job and having to support himself but he just tried the easy way out and thought about prison as an option.
Soapy thought he had it all down somewhere in his heart to commit a crime to save his own life really. “The more the minority culture strives for a common goal, the more individuals within that subculture are likely to be portrayed or portray it (Shelter).” Soapy knows it’s wrong to commit an illegal act, but does it anyway because he wants to gain a home in which is in the prison for his easy way out. Therefore, using Marxist criticism, a reader can analyze the aspects of crime, poverty, and moral values by understanding the means of being well fortunate. Being well fortunate is to count your blessing and to be unfortunate means to pray or earn for something better. In the short story, The Cop and the Anthem, Soapy realizes what he was meant to be, and that is a loyal, humble and honest man.
He now tells the truth and nothing but the truth. Soapy also learns that there is never an easy way out of tough sticky situations. “The true adventurer goes forth aimlessly and uncalculating to meet and greet unknown fate (O. Henry).”