O.Henry in his short story “The Cop and the Anthem” has conveyed a harsh living condition of a man named Soapy in a very light- hearted manner. The concept of freedom as we perceive is totally different from what the protagonist thinks freedom is. The author has sketched the character in a comical way, which encourages the reader to relax through Soapy’s adventures. In the story, Soapy wants to get into jail for shelter during the cold winter. His adventures to get into jail has been portrayed in a very light manner but in reality it is a very pathetic situation. He is homeless and has nobody who is there for him. He opts to go to jail to survive the harsh winter.
“For years the hospitable Blackwell’s had been his winter quarters. Just as his more fortunate fellow New Yorkers had bought their tickets to Palm Beach and Riviera each winter, so Soapy had made his humble arrangements for his annual hegira to the island.”
From the above quoted lines from the story, it is evident that the “island” that is referred to is the jail in Blackwell. In these lines the fact of going to jail has been compared to other rich people going on vacation to exotic places. For Soapy, being in jail is better than being out in the cold water. The whole story has been taken forward with irony and contrasting ideas of what freedom is. One aspect used by the writer is that he has portrayed the situations in a casual manner. A jail is a place everybody fears to go to and feels