Summary of The cop and the Anthem
Cop and the Anthem is the story of a homeless man, Soapy who lives in Madison Square Park In New York City, in the summer. However, in winter the park is too chilly to stay at. Therefore, he has to find another place for himself. The place that Soapy prefers for winter is Blackwell’s Island, a local jail. He gives himself under police custody and lives there every winter.
Leaving the bench, he thinks of going to a high-class restaurant for a meal. There, he will refuse to pay the bill after eating and they will call the police to arrest him. For instance, he is proud of his appearance that he can fool them for an elite person easily. Soapy has a neatly shaven face. He also wears a beautiful coat and a decent tie.
Having confidence in his appearance, Soapy imagines a lavish meal. But as he enters the hotel, a head waiter sees his threadbare trousers. Instead of arresting him by the police, he is silently conveyed out of the restaurant. Despite his confidence in his dressing sense, his reality is reflected through his worn-out pants.
Then Soapy attempts on another crime. He reaches in front of a shop and throws a stone on the window that breaks the glass window. Soapy thinks that he has succeeded in his goal. Consequently, a policeman arrives to inspect the crime scene. Soapy, out of excitement, admits his crime. To his misfortune, the police officer does not doubt him “even as a clue” for the crime. Leaving Soapy there, the police runs behind another person who was catching a car.
Then he finds a low-quality restaurant and makes his way to the table. After eating to his full, he refuses to pay the bill because he has no money to give to them. The waiter gets furious but decides to throw him out instead of calling the police. A police, standing outside looks at him and laughs at his condition but does not arrest him.
Then Soapy involved in misconduct by yelling at police in a drunken state. He shouts, dances, and annoys the police cop. However, the police officer considers him a celebrating young Yale student who is celebrating the Goose eggs they have given in Hartford College.
Soapy becomes increasingly desperate and furious over his concurrent failed attempts. He sadly enters a cigar shop. There, he sees a well-dressed man having a beautiful silk umbrella. The man is busy lighting his cigar and Soapy promptly snatches it from the man. At this action, he is quite satisfied and assured that he will be arrested. Soapy yells at the man that the umbrella belongs to him.
Seeing a police officer , the umbrella owner quickly reveals his truth to Soapy. He tells him that he has found the umbrella somewhere and it does not belong to him. So it can be Soapy’s.
Feeling lost and rejected, he arrives at an old church in despair. The place seems quite calm and satisfying to him and the atmosphere is pastoral.
He overhears an organist from inside the church who is playing an anthem. It reminds Soapy of his old times with family and friends. This anthem changes his mind. He is determined to leave his misdeeds and contribute to the development of society as a productive member. The song revolves around his thoughts turning them to the positive aspects of life.
Soapy tells himself that he will go to the town side and get a job and work hard. However, before beginning his good life, He feels a hand on his shoulder. It is that of the cop who arrests Soapy for uselessly moving around. Also, he is imprisoned for three months on Blackwell’s Island.
When he gets inspired by the anthem and decides to say goodbye to his loitering life and enter a professional world to chase the American dream, he is caught up in a hopeless situation. Throughout the tale, Soapy wants for prison but he fails. However, his desire is fulfilled when he does not want it anymore, adding to the irony of the situation making it an undesired tragedy.