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Cages

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Paige Ducharme

on 27 February 2014

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Transcript of Cages

Cages
Guy Vanderhaeghe
Cages by Guy Vanderhaeghe, is a short story about 17 year old Billy, who tries to rebel and break away from the expectations his father puts upon him.
Summary
Characters
Billy
-He is seventeen years old
-Through the story we see how much he tries to make his father like him.
-He uses vulgar language
-His father depends on him to take care of his brother all the time.
-As a younger child Billy developed claustrophobia.

"I try too hard to make him like me"
Gene
-He is eighteen years old.
-Gets in trouble all the time
-Not good at school
-Gets angry easily
-Doesn't care about a good job
-As a child he tormented Billy
"Gene has done a fair number of
bad things
while everybody was waiting around for him to do the great big
terrible thing
"
"Gene used to make me go berserk by holding me under the covers, or stuffing a pillow in my face, or locking me in the garage"
"That's the kind of question i get asked.
Has your brother got his homework done?
"
Billy's Father
-He works in the mines
-Lets Gene get away with things
-Expects Billy to take care of Gene
-Expects Billy to do good in school
-Always worrying about Gene

"I dont know why you don't help him with his school-work"
"It's up to somebody in this outfit to make something of themselves"
"being patient with him as usual"
Setting
The Basement
-The place in their house where Billy and his brother Gene would play, and where Gene almost blinded Billy.
-To Billy this is where he first figured out that Gene is his fathers favorite kid.
"Gene is still his favourite kid. I figured it out right after Gene almost blinded me"
"He wasn't all that mad at Gene. Me he was mad at."
The Mines
-There is a cage, which is an elevator to go down into the mines. Dark, rusted, packed a big group of people into the little elevator.
-This made Billys claustrophobia even worse. He couldn't breathe and got really paranoid about getting lost. This is where is father got embarrassed by him.
"To start,they packed us in the cage with twelve other people"
"What if i get lost? What if i lose the group?"
'My old man was awful embarrassed.'- "Last time i take you anywhere"
The Poolroom
-Gene plays poker pool here. Gene also gets accused of cheating and he ends up getting into a fight with one of the guys he was playing.
-Billy protects his brother after the fight when the police come. Billy takes the fall for the fight and gets arrested.
"I bet you he's been cheating all along"
"You want to fight over this?"
"Get going"
'Let the old man come down to he cop shop over me for once'
Jail
-Jail cells in the basement of the station, metal strips riveted into a cross hatch you couldn't stick your hand through, could smell urine, the bars were rusting.
-Billy first thought it was fun acting like a hard case at the station, being rude and lippy. Claustrophobia started acting up when he saw the cell he would be put in. His fear is what caused him to snitch on his brother.
"I was only when they took my shoelaces and belt that i started to get nervous"
"I didn't do it!"
"It was my f***ing ass-hole brother, Gene!"
Cages
Throughout Billy and Genes life they are always being threatened with the "Cage", ever since they were little by their father. "Make something of yourself, or you'll end up like your old man, a monkey in the cage!", if they did bad in school he would say "Just remember, dunces don't end up in the corner, They end up in the cage".
-Throughout the story we see through Billy's vulgar language choice and his actions, that he tries to constantly rebel and break free from the countless cages that are put around him. According to his father, he is trapped into a role of the smart, no-trouble son that has to protect his elder brother from his trouble some actions. Billy attempts to break free of this role when he takes the fall for Genes actions. He finally feels free and is happy about it, for a moment. Billy's claustrophobia of being trapped, stuck is what ends his happiness from rebelling. In the end, his actions cause his father to be terribly angry and worried. Billy takes the choice and accepts his fate of being the smart no trouble son who protects his older brother, walking back into the "cage" he tried so desperately to escape. He traps himself by his own choice, by guilt and obligation he feels for his father.
"You were always the smart one. I didn't have to worry about you"
"You goddamn snitch"
"What's going to happen to Gene?"
"Nothing"
"Billy?, you mean it?"
"Yes", "I'll do my best"
'I can never stay mad at my old man'
Theme
Throughout this story Vanderhaeghe suggests that everyone is trapped in some sort of "cage". We all have responsibilities and expectations put upon us, but we shouldn't feel obligated or pressured by others to fulfill these expectations.
FIN
Full transcript