Papa's Parrot Questions and Answers
by Cynthia Rylant

Start Your Free Trial

What happened in the story "Papa's Parrot"?

Expert Answers info

S.L. Watson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write580 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

The short story "Papa's Parrot" is a story about the time in many adolescents' lives when they begin to lose interest in spending time with their parents and desire to spend time with their friends.

Harry Tillian's father owns a candy and nut shop. Harry and his friends stop in every day after school because Harry's friends like to purchase the goodies even though Harry has disliked the treats since he was seven years old. Mr. Tillian looks forward to the children's visit because "he like[s] the company." Unfortunately, when Harry turns twelve, he and his friends have more money to spend. They stop going to the candy store in favor of going to burger joints and record stores, and they also play video games. That same year, Mr. Tillian buys Rocky, a parrot.

Rocky becomes Mr. Tillian's companion, and the parrot repeats everything he says. One day, Mr. Tillian has a heart attack and is hospitalized. When Harry visits his father in the hospital, Mr. Tillian asks him to go sort out the candy in the shop. Harry agrees. He starts unpacking candies and notices Rocky. Harry cleans Rocky's cage and feeds him. When the parrot says, "Where's Harry? Miss him," Harry breaks down in tears. He realizes just how distant he has grown from his father.

The story ends with Harry wanting to visit his father. He has matured when he realizes the importance of his relationship with his dad.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

pnhancock eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write209 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Cynthia Rylant's short story "Papa's Parrot" tells the story of a growing distance between a father and son. The son, Harry Tillman, frequented his father's candy shop as a child. Once he starts middle school, however, he and his friends prefer to hang out elsewhere. His father buys a parrot around this time and talks to it frequently, much to Harry's embarrassment. One day, Harry's father has a heart attack and is hospitalized. Harry promises he will take care of the shop and parrot as long as his father is in the hospital. When he stops by the shop after school the next day, he hears the parrot talking, repeating things Harry's father said, including "Where's Harry? Miss him!" Harry realizes he has grown distant from his father and decides to spend more time with him, resolving to visit him in the hospital as soon as he finishes working.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial