Main ideas (P.No.103)
1 Who is Soapy?
A: Soapy is a homeless and jobless person who tries to get arrested and stay in jail.
2 Where does he want to go and why?
A :He wanted to go to the island where he would stay warm during winter and get food for free.
3 How does Soapy plan on getting arrested?
A :He made attempts to get arrested by damaging public property, by misbehaving, by making petty theft and by not paying money after eating to the heart’s content.
4 Is Soapy a gentleman?
A: Soapy is a degraded person who has become so lazy, even to earn.
5 How does he feel when he hears the church anthem?
A He suddenly realized his mistake. It brought an immediate and wonderful change in his soul.
6 O.Henry is famous for his ironic or unexpected endings. Why is soapy’s arrest an example of irony?
A :Until Soapy was a degraded man, he failed in getting arrested. But he was unexpectedly
arrested for no reason, when he transformed into a pure soul.
Looking at the language : Writing style (P.No.103)
Looking at the language : Vocabulary by theme (P.No.104)
Literary Concept : Theme (P.No.105)
1 On a symbolic level, what central idea does the story present regarding the homeless?
A :It presents them as a burden to the society. They create nothing more than nuisance. They talk nothing more than nonsense. They simply lead life without any expectations.
2 Does the story say something about life in a big city?
A: Ofcourse, life in a big city is not so easy. When an individual has no intention to meet certain goal and to lead an honourable life, life becomes a miserable one.
3 On the universal level, what emotions does Soapy exhibit?
A: Soapy has a strong desire to spend his winter in a warm place, where he could get his free food. He has negative emotions for charity because he has to show his gratitude in some or other means. He displays self-respect, courage, deceptive mentality, jealousy, grumbling nature, receptivity and retrospective nature. He is a man who displays several shades and emotions throughout the story.
4 What do you thonk is the main theme of the story?
A :The main theme of the story is that everyone should introspect and lead a life with certain goals, ambitions and positive attitude. One shouldn’t get defeated by the life’s miserable conditions.
Culture point : The homeless and the police (P.No.106)
1 How does O.Henry characterize Soapy, in general?
A Soapy is characterized to be a dude, who does nothing. He has no ambitions as he used to have, earlier.He tries to depend on others an dpass his life without doing any work.
2 Does this characterization………………………………this portrayal?
A: Americans may or maynot agree with this portrayal. But, it seemed appropriate to me because any homeless person has negative feelings for the society and tries to get the best of anything without any effort.
3 How does O.Henry portray the different policemen in the story?
A: Many a policeman has been described here. One doesn’t believe the truth, one has wrong interpretation, one simply watches what’s going on, one laughs at his condition and one arrests Soapy for no reason.
4 Do you agree………………………..from your observations?
A :Every individual is with a special attitude and so is a cop. He does his duty but it depends on several associating factors and the orders they receive. Their experience and interpretations carry them in their own way of behavior.
Literary Concept : Irony (P.No.108)
1 What does Soapy intend to happen throughout the story?
A :Soapy intended to happen nothing more than getting a free shelter and food. He made several attempts, which put him down as an individual, in order to get arrested.
2 What does he want to happen at the end of the story?
A He wanted to battle with his desperate fate. He wanted to make a man of himself by pulling himself out of the confused state. He wanted to conquer the evil and lead an ambitious, clean life.
3 What, indeed, does happen at the end of the story?
A :Soapy realized his mistake and wanted to overcome it. But he was arrested by a cop simply.
4 Is this ending unexpected to you?
A: Yes, the ending was unexpected. The expected ending was either Soapy fulfilling his dream by getting arrested or settling down on the park bench once again. But the author has brought reformation in his character and then made an unusual ending.
5 Why is the ending of the story ironic?
A The end is ironic because it didn’t happen when it is expected; and happened when it
shouldn’t. Soapy was arrested for no reason and that too, after he had realized his mistake.
Reading journal (P.No.109)
I don’t pity Soapy. He has chosen a life which has no value. All his earlier dreams were vanished and he has no ambition at all for life. He wanted to depend on others and get everything for free without any hard work.
I liked the story very much. It was fun to read the attempts made by Soapy but at the end, when he was arrested, a pity feel arouse in me along with a smile. It was an expected change in him.
Write down the story in simple English in about 200 words:
Soapy is a homeless, jobless person. He made a park bench his home. As the winter is approaching, he needed some warm shelter. After much thinking, he planned to get arrested by the police and make the jail his winter home where he could get free food also.
He started his attempts to get arrested. In this process, he makes a petty theft, damages public property, tries to misbehave with a young lady who turns to be a call-girl, behaves in a disorderly manner in public and eats in a hotel to declare his insolvency later.
But he was unsuccessful in all his attempts. He fails to draw the attention of the police. His desire to get arrested is not fulfilled.
In a desperate mood, Soapy happens to hear an anthem from an old church. Suddenly, his soul gets transformation. He recollects his ambitions and clean life and soon decides to start working. He now wants to place himself in a good position, get an honour and dignity.
But, he is ironically arrested by a cop because he is loitering with no reason in front of a church and the magistrate ordered that he would be sent to the island for three months as a punishment.