THE COP AND THE ANTHEM
In the beginning of the story Soapy is restless on his seat in Madison Square. Soapy is restless because of the winter approaching. “There are certain signs to show winter is coming” winter is literally the symbol of change as fall begins to disappear and the cold weather approaching. This also symbolic to Soapy life as a change is about to come forth in his life towards the end of the story.
As the winter is approaching Soapy decides to get himself a shelter, food and comfort so as to take care of himself during the cold weather. As his hopes are not high for the winter he decides to send himself to the prison where he would get free food and shelter for the next three months the “Blackwell’s Island”. The island here could symbolise as a safe heaven for Soapy distancing himself from the city-the life of crowd and noisy people. Island is a place where Soapy is comfortable as he has been to that place before as well. But to get to the island or prison, Soapy needs to get arrested in the first place. In an attempt to get arrested Soapy first decides to get a free meal at a high end restaurant but his plan is foiled as the head waiter spots his torn shoes as he enters the restaurant and he gets thrown out. For his second attempt in order to gets arrested he breaks the glass window of a shop which could symbolise the his hatred towards the material health and his disregard towards it, it could also symbolise the broken nature of his heart during his life time. His attempts to get arrested keeps failing him so he decides to try something different, “He began to shout as if he had too much to drink. His voice was as loud as he could make it. He danced he cried out.” this could symbolise his desperate attempt in order to get arrested as his previous attempts failed and his pent up feeling being communicated by this gesture of his. All his frustration and desperateness is being reflected in his actions. After all his attempts to get arrested fails, “Soapy walked east”. Here east could signify a lot of things as east being the direction of sunrise which symbolises the direction of light or the beginning of something new. A new ray of hope in Soapy’s life. This is the reason why most of the churches are located in the direction of east. East also symbolises new beginnings and new growth. When Soapy ends outside the church and listens to the anthem being sung. On hearing the anthem brings about a change in Soapy’s personality as he thinks of his childhood, his mother, flowers, friends, new hopes, clean clothes and clean thoughts. Here the church and the anthem symbolises the changes in Soapy’s personality as Soapy becomes inclined towards religion and thinks to make a honest living as often religious people care less about the material wealth and are generally happy with whatever they have.
But ironically at that movement Soapy gets arrested by a cop. And the next morning he the judge sentences him to three months in the island. Here Soapy also becomes the symbol of homeless people around the world and the struggles they go through to get themselves food, shelter and warmth.