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The Parrot in The Cage Summary & Analysis

This poem is a monologue in which the parrot laments his life inside the cage and shares his story of pain & separation from his dear ones.

The Parrot in The Cage Summary & Analysis
The Parrot in The Cage Summary & Analysis

Summary & Analysis of The Parrot In The Cage

The poem is a dramatic monologue. The parrot laments its life, and its condition inside the cage, and shares its story of pain and loss and separation from the near ones. Through the parrot's words, we get a snapshot of its temperament and character.

Literal Comprehension

This poem is a monologue in which the parrot laments his life inside the cage and shares his story of pain & separation from his dear ones. The parrot recalls how he used to fly & wander around the forests eating wild fruits. But now fate has tricked me into the cage. He is deprived of cool water, shades & delicious fruits. All those things have vanished & they are like dreams. His parents may be weeping to beat their breasts.  Because he separated from them. He does not find any escape from the cage because he sees only enemies around the cage. He tried to break the cage & fly away but his beak is blunt now. His feet & wings are cramped & he as felt a sense of defeat.

He is given stirred measure of third-class rice & devoid (lack) of water. Even his throat is dry he compelled to prate. If he refuses to prate, his master threatens. He was forced to respond to the caller. He curses God for giving him the power of speech because it is the reason for his grief. Finally, the parrot tells how the human race is hostile (unfriendly) & how there is the exploitation of one’s talent. He strongly prays to God not to let anyone have the life of a parrot until how long the men are on the Earth.

Interpretation

Indirectly, this poem is trying to show us the condition of the Nepali people in the Rana regime. The Nepalese had been ruled by the Rana’s for one hundred & four years. During that period people were deprived of all kinds of freedom, justice & happiness. People are forced to live caged life. In the poem, the parrot represents the whole suppressed people of the Rana regime. It shows human takes pleasure in giving pain to the parrot. Also, it shows, in the difficulties, of Hindu culture people pray to God, similarly in this poem parrot also prays to God. And, the torture given by Rana to the Nepalese people is described & indirectly criticized in the poem.

Critical Thinking

Although this poem indirectly criticized the Rana regime, there are some points in the poem with which I do not agree. In real life, can a parrot speak like a human to express his sorrows? How can the bird organize the feasts? In the poem, the human race is hostile. How can all humans be hostile to their pets? Many people have kept dogs, cats, rabbits, parrots, etc in their homes as pet animals. We have seen many people behaving with their pet animals as if they are their best friends or they are their children. The poet has not defined clearly what does third-class price mean? Who are the parrot's real enemies? How can they stay every time around him?

Assimilation

After reading this poem, parrot in the cage I came to know to realize how cruel the Rana was. I have determined that I will always stand for the freedom of human beings. Thus, I request all human beings not to capture any animals in the race of pleasure & not to dominate any citizens in the name of the ruling system.

 - Lekhnath Paudyal (1885-1966) 

- Translated by Laxmi Prasad Devkota

Summary & Analysis of 'The Parrot in the Cage'

A parrot is captured and a narrow iron cage is his world now In place of the open sky. Now his free, happy life is finished. There is only pain and sorrow, no peace or rest. His eyes have swollen from crying. Trying to get out, his beak has become blunt, and his wings and feet have become weaker. His sad and weeping old parents need him. But there is no way out. 

In the forest, his real home, he enjoyed cool waters, playing in the green trees, eating sweet fruits and living with family and friends. But now all this is a dream. There are only enemies around him and no one for help. Freedom seems impossible. Every day will be hard. He suffers heat and cold, passing the days weeping and lamenting. He does not get water on time. His throat has become dry from talking and singing for people. He is beaten if he refuses. He does not get enough to survive in return for his service. Instead, he gets insults, scolding and threats. He is only a plaything for humans. They take pleasure in his suffering. His power of speech has become a curse. He prays to God to pity him and help him escape. Humans exploit the virtues of other creatures. They are not satisfied until the creatures die. Therefore, the parrot begs God not to give life to parrots as long as a single human remains on earth. 

Theme/ Interpretation

We can interpret this poem on three levels. First, it shows the unequal human-animal relationship. We see the cruel treatment of other creatures by human beings. The parrot’s pitiful condition inside the cage contrasts with his happy forest life. We control and exploit animals in many ways. Putting the parrot in a cage is just one example. The poet suggests we stop such injustice.

The second interpretation is political. It suggests Nepalese people’s freedom is trapped in the cage of Rana's rule. The parrot represents the condition of captured freedom fighters. Finally, there is also a spiritual side to the poem, a philosophical message. The caged parrot is a symbol of the free, immortal human soul bound in the mortal body. The parrot tries to free himself from the cage. The poet suggests we rise above the body. 

Critical Analysis

According to the parrot’s description, his condition is pitiful. But he might be exaggerating the fact. Humans capture animals not only for cruel treatment. We also do so to preserve them. In the forest, some powerless animals and birds might face danger and difficulty in living. In such cases, we need to protect them by capturing them. We also produce good breeds of animals in systematic ways.

The poem neglects such good acts and passes judgement on the whole human race based on an example. All humans are not cruel as the parrot thinks. The parrot’s condition has made us think about our own life. The future is uncertain. Our life may suddenly change from happy to tragic conditions, from good to bad times. Just as the parrot becomes a plaything in the hands of humans, we are helpless before time. At least the parrot has memories of happy times although he is in a cage now. We can learn this from him: keeping good memories for bad times. 

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