Jealous Husband Returns in Form of Parrot

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Thomas Connell

Jealous Bird Man
In Robert Olen Butler's, "Jealous Husband Returns in Form of Parrot", the narrator finds himself unable to trust or communicate with his wife because of his own vulnerability and fears of losing her. Tragically it was his fear that killed him in the end; while trying to spy on his wife and the new guy from the shipping department in his bedroom, the narrator falls from a tree dying instantly and ironically is reincarnated as a handsome Yellow-nape Amazon Parrot. Although parrots can mimic sounds or words they hear, it seems there is only more of a communication gap between the two as fate reunited them together now as a widow and a pet bird. By the end of this story the differences in the narrator as a bird and as a man are self evident by the loss of his egotism and jealousy even if it means death to make his wife happy.

One might argue that the narrator's extreme jealousy is a perfect example of his love and compassion for his wife, although it is this same jealousy that fuels his ego and wont allow him to express his insecurities. For example, "She said another thing about [the guy from the shipping department] and then another and right after the third one I locked myself in the bathroom because I couldn't rage about this anymore"(Pg.767). It is obvious that his refusal to speak to his wife was due to a mixture of his own male pride and his fears of losing her.

Even with the Narrator's lack of communication and fears of losing his wife, he seems as if he wants to talk but wont because he was afraid of rejection and wouldn't want to show his vulnerabilities. So instead he says he will hold his tongue half the time or lock himself in the bathroom to get away. For example "I felt like a damn fool whenever I actually said anything about this kind of feeling and she looked at me like she could start hating me real easy and so I was working on saying nothing even if it meant locking myself up" (Pg...
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