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I am a Catholic, the daughter of a Catholic mother and father, and I do not believe in the worship of my ancestors, especially in the form of a parrot.

In Robert Butler’s story “Mr. Green” the grandfather’s parrot is used to demonstrate the disconnect¬†between two different lives, the life of a grandfather and the life of a young girl. As a child the speaker looked up to her grandfather and appeared to be interested in the life her passed family members. However, the struggle of the difference in religions caused conflict with herself and her relationship with her heritage when she learned the different roles of women and men when explained the Vietnamese spirt guarding. Her grandfather was disappointed in her religious up bringing, but never blamed her, he always told her the truth about anything she wanted to know.

Mr. Green was my grandfather’s parrot and I loved talking to him…

Parrots, in some religions, symbolize truths and are seen as a wise leader, similarly to how the speaker viewed her grandfather as a child. Once her grandfather passed she wished to keep Mr. Green as a way of staying close to her grandfather and possibly, subconsciously, she believed she could protect his spirit despite being a woman. As an adult she continues her Catholic life style with her children, while encompassing traditional values as her mother had done. When the parrot began to act hostile towards her and mimic the cough of her passed grandfather, she discovers the truth she had been blind to previously — women are more important than her grandfather lead her to believe. This was concluded with the snapping of Mr. Green’s neck the same way she¬†admired her mother doing as a child.

Becoming a woman like my mother, for it was she who killed them, after all.



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