Symbolism Of A Cage Analysis

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What is a “cage”? According to Webster’s Dictionary, a cage is defined as: “[a] place of confinement with bars . . . for keeping animals.” Appropriately, this word in plural form, cages, is the title for a narrative composed by Guy Vanderhaege, and this word reflects on the story; this image of a cage is found and becomes symbolic of situations that people live in. As consequence, this narrative depicts circumstances where a symbolic nature of cages is uncovered upon by the characters through the first person lens of a fourteen year old Billy; Billy’s and his father’s cages becomes evident. Early in the story it is clear that Billy is pressured into expectations set out by his father to take care of his older brother Eugene (141), only to …show more content…
The “cage” is a name that the men in the narrative call the elevator cat in the mine (143), and it is unmistakable that the car would impact those who would ride it as the car earns such a title. Distinctly, this “cage” does impact Billy’s father, and is apparent when he scolds Billy and Gene: “you’ll [Gene] end up like your old man, a monkey in a cage!”(143); he constantly berates himself and equates himself to a monkey because of his work; riding the elevator car up and down the mine. However, this physical “cage” doesn’t just represent the labor in working in the mine as much as it means as a status to him, and it is this metaphysical relation of the cage that he wishes he could change: “I rode the cage all my life . . . I wish I’d gone to school and could sit in an office with a clean white shirt.” (143), or a farmer, rather than the “dunce” he is whom is sent to the “cage.” Furthermore, he truly feels entrapped in his situation as he doesn’t attempt to free himself, but rather, he tries to convey his thoughts on Billy and Eugene as he says to them: “make something out of yourself [f/ves]” (143); he intends to teach Billy and Eugene not to fall into the same situation: fallen into the inescapable cage of being a

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