Papa's Parrot Questions and Answers
by Cynthia Rylant

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What is the main idea in "Papa's Parrot"?  

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Cynthia Rylant's story "Papa's Parrot" is one of a collection of short stories in her book Every Living Thing. All of the stories in the collection depict how animals influence human relationships. In "Papa's Parrot," a boy named Harry has been neglecting his father, who he once spent a lot of time with and enjoyed his company. In recent years, Harry has been embarrassed by his father and stops to visit him at work. However, when Harry's dad has a heart attack, Harry begins running the store, and learns from his dad's parrot that his father often thought about Harry and talked about him often to the parrot (judging from the parrot's mimicked phrases). The main idea is that Harry learns an important lesson from listening to the bird: he should not be embarrassed of those who love him, and he should cherish the time he has with his father. Harry comes to this realization and rushes off to be with his father in the hospital. It is assumed that Harry will spend more time with his father in the shop now when his father returns to work. If it were not for the parrot, Harry wouldn't have realized that his father so often talked about his son. 

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