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“But now she appears from the hallway and I look at her and she is still slim and she is beautiful, I think—at least I clearly remember that as her husband I found her beautiful in this state. Now, though, she seems too naked. Plucked. I find that a sad thing. I am sorry for her and she goes by me and she disappears into the kitchen. I want to pluck some of my own feathers, the feathers from my chest, and give them to her. I love her more in that moment, seeing her terrible nakedness, than I ever have before.”

parrotThrough the portraying of reincarnation of a husband into a bird with the first-person point of view, we are able to hear the thoughts and emotions of the deceased husband (the parrot) who sees his former wife sleeping with various men. We are also able to learn about his death as a human being which was due to her unfaithfulness to him. What makes this story fantastic is not just the reincarnation, but how Olen uses this unique circumstance to bring out the human experience. The human experience that we see in this story is the former marriage of a man, whose wife has been unfaithful to him, how she has easily moved on despite his death, and his love for her in spite of her adulterous behavior. I think the theme of this story is: undying love, loss, and the power of love–even if it means death due to the unattainable love you so desperately need and want. I think that Olen chooses the parrot not just for humor, but also to portray the lack of language/communication that not only hinders the parrot from expressing himself to his wife or to the men she is sleeping with, but it also symbolizes his lack of communication with her during their marriage, when he knew she was cheating and lying to him when she said, “I love you.” I think the lack of communication illuminates the pain of the parrot’s love for his wife both before his death and as a parrot, which helps us as readers to empathize with him.

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