What Happens When We “Cage” Our Fellow Humans?


Literature is a powerful medium for examining justice, judgment, and society’s treatment of humankind. “Does justice have a dark side?” Many pieces of literature show the dark side of man’s justice, such as Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, which presents a young woman being punished as an outcast while her guilty male partner remains free. Other pieces, however, show mankind’s fight for justice as the necessary protection of human rights and a guaranteed respect for all races, as in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. A literary analysis of the metaphorical short story “Caged,” with the author listed as merely anonymous, answers “Yes” to the question of whether or not justice has a dark side. While this story exposes the societal enslavement of women, it also examines the power of friendship. “Caged” is a story that might be set in Colonial America, when society at the time was powerfully patriarchal. But that might not be the author’s true purpose in writing. In this story, the main character Charity endures the judgment of her peers and the horror of being kept in a cage, both literally and figuratively. “Caged” works best when viewed as a metaphorical lesson for all the ages, a lesson in how society misjudges one another and yet the strength of real love conquers what hurt we often heap upon other human beings in the name of justice.

Author Information
Janet Crosier, Springfield College, USA

Paper Information
Conference: ECAH2016
Stream: Humanities - Literature/Literary Studies*

This paper is part of the ECAH2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon