I Want Something in a Cage: Summary and Analysis

The story has a peculiar title and is about a shopkeeper who owns a shop that sells birds, monkeys, etc. He comes across a strange man who wants to buy something in a cage. The shopkeeper is shocked by the unique demand.

I Want Something in a Cage Summary

Mr. Purcell had a shop, and he sold pets. Once, a strange man came to his store, bought two doves. After the man went out of the shop, he set the doves free. The shopkeeper was getting uneasy because of the strange act, and his shop seemed like a haunted house to him. The shop had all kinds of pets, and there were several cages on the shelves. Mr. Purcell was a professional man.

The shop always had some sort of noise, which was created by the sounds of different animals. There was a flicker of life, everything. The life in the cages was not troublesome to Mr. Purcell’s customers, and they praised the caged animals and called them cute. Mr. Purcell always showed concern about the well-being of the birds and animals. He also dealt in fish food and birdseed and prescribed remedies for ailing canaries. His large glasses magnified his eyes. Mr. Purcell’s looks made the author compare him to a wise owl.

Mr. Purcell was not troubled by the noise in his shop and was accustomed to it like it was the ticking of a clock. The customers who came to buy pets did not mind the noise. But, a man purchased two doves and set them free. He found the shop to be depressing and asked the owner if all the noise upset him or not.

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The man had shiny shoes and wore a cheap suit. His dress was new but ill-fitted. His hair was closely cropped, and he had unsteady eyes. He was not very clear about what he wanted. The man was just released from prison.

The man wished to buy an animal that could give him a taste of freedom. He noticed the pair of doves, and he knew that doves loved to fly high in the air. He did not have any special love for the doves. He just wanted the pleasure of freeing an animal, and this urge made him spend all his money. He earned money after working hard as a prisoner for ten years. It was five dollars.

After the man bought the doves, Mr. Purcell talked for a bit, where the shopkeeper offered advice about caring for and feeding the birds. The man was not interested in it and said ‘bah’ in disdain and went out. The man was not interested in keeping the dove. He opened the cage as soon as he came out. He let the doves fly high in the sky. Mr. Purcell felt insulted when he saw this.

I Want Something in a Cage Analysis

Mr. Purcell owned a pet shop and sold all kinds of pets. In addition, he also sold fish food, and birdseed. The tiny creatures and birds were closed up in cages, where they moved in circles. Mr.Purcell was used to the sounds and noise that the animals made. Every morning, Purcell sat on a high stool behind the counter and read the newspaper. As he read, he smiled. That day, a stranger entered the shop and stood in front of the owner. He was wearing a cheap, ill-fitting suit, and his hair was short. He was looking at the cages and requested something small in a cage. He pointed towards the cage with two white doves. Purcell demanded five dollars and fifty cents for it. This made the man sad because he wanted the birds, but he only had five dollars. Purcell agreed to that and gave the customer the cage. The man asked Purcell if he found the noise disturbing. Purcell, who was used to it, did not hear any noise. The stranger told Purcell that he earned the five dollars after working really hard in prison for ten years. He walked out of the store. He held the cage high and drew one of the doves out and then the second one and freed them. Then he dropped the cage. Purcell was shocked.  He did not understand why the man let the birds loose. He felt insulted about robbing the bird’s freedom, while a man spent all his earnings liberating them.

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I Want Something in a Cage Character Sketch

Mr. Purcell owned a pet shop and sold all kinds of pets. He also dealt in fish food and birdseed and prescribed remedies for ailing canaries. His large glasses magnified his eyes. Mr. Purcell’s looks made the author compare him to a wise owl. He used to sit behind the counter and read the newspaper. During that, he used to smile and frown. He felt insulted when the strange man bought the doves and set them free. Mr. Purcell had gotten used to the sounds of the animals and birds and did not find them disturbing.

The strange man was a prisoner for several years and had earned 5 dollars through his labor in prison for ten years. The man was wearing a cheap, ill-fitting suit, and his hair was short. The man went to Mr. Purcell’s shop and requested something small in a cage.  He bought the doves and exhausted everything he had, only to feel the freedom.

I Want Something in a Cage Theme

The story is about a man who learned the importance of freedom after he spent years in prison. The man buys a dove that has been caged and sets it free because he wished to experience freedom through it. 

I Want Something in a Cage Analysis Key Points

The story is about a nature lover who shocked the shopkeeper. The elderly shopkeeper came across a unique request. It was very unusual for someone to negotiate for a pair of doves and then set the birds free. The shopkeeper was shocked by this unexpected behavior.

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