Discuss O. Henry's short story, "The Cop and the Anthem".

Expert Answers
cybil eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It would be helpful if you asked a specific question about this story. Generally speaking, the story is a typical O. Henry one, full of irony. Soapy tries unsuccessfully to get arrested six different ways so that he can spend "three months on the Island," assuring him of a warm place and food during the winter. In each instance, he commits a minor crime, but the results are not what he expects or wants. Just after he hears organ music coming from a church, he decides he will get a job the next day; however, a cop accosts him and arrests him for loitering. A judge sentences him to three months on the island, so ironically Soapy gets his wish after all in this surprise ending, another characteristic of O. Henry's stories.

Another characteristic of the story is O. Henry's use of figurative language. For instance, in the story's exposition, he uses personification and metaphor "Jack Frost's card" to refer to an autumn leaf, a signal to Soapy that he needs to find a place to spend the winter. At another point, O. Henry describes a "street damaged by improvements" in an example of oxymoron.

joelugo | Student

Another example of oxymoron is his name Soapy, considering he is a homeless man.