- What is the setting (time, place, circumstances) of the story? How do you know?
- Explain the significance of the possessive pronoun his in the phrase “his bench.”
- Why is Soapy moving uneasily on his bench? How do you know?
- Soapy is not interested in exotic European getaways or trips to Palm Beach. What does “the Island” offer him?
- Why doesn’t Soapy want to receive charity? Be specific. Why is it “better to be a guest of the law” according to Soapy?
- On his way home Soapy finds himself outside of a church. What is happening inside the church. Be specific.
- What is the theme of this story?
- What is the mood/tone of this story?
- What literary devices does O. Henry use in this story? (foreshadowing, irony, metaphor, simile, personification, etc.)
- “The Cop and the Anthem” was published over a hundred years ago. Do you think it’s still relevant? Why or why not?
- Could this story unintentionally contribute to negative stereotypes about homeless people, or people in who repeatedly go to jail? Why or why not?
- Do you think Soapy is, or could be, a “good” person? (To answer this question, you first need to decide what your criteria for being a good person is.)