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The next day he began to cough.

I knew the cough well. But I took Mr. Green to the veterinarian and he told me what I expected, the cough was not the bird’s. This was a sound he was imitating. “Did someone in your household recently have a cold or the flu?” the doctor said. 

“It is my grandfather,” I said. (116)

In this passage, the parrot Mr. Green symbolizes the narrator’s grandfather.  Throughout the story, the narrator is conscious of her grandfather’s presence. This begins when she prays The Lord’s Prayer to the photo of her grandfather’s father. She continues to be conscious of her grandfather through the parrot’s actions even after his death. The parrot says certain words and phrases the narrator’s grandfather said before passing away. When Mr. Green wanted to go to the community garden on the narrator’s shoulder, he would say “What then?” and when the narrator visits the parrot every morning, he said “Hello, kind sir” just as he would toward the narrator’s grandfather. It is also shown in how the parrot begins to cough just as her grandfather did before his passing. The narrator is the only person that Mr. Green will allow to touch him without lunging to draw blood from the person. This is similar to the beginning of the story when the narrator and her grandfather secretly go to pray the Lord’s Prayer.

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