Study Guide

Waiters in The Cop and the Anthem

By O. Henry


Like the cops, the waiters are nameless. Unlike the cops, two of the four we see actually use a little physical violence on Soapy. We get the impression that people trying to get free meals is a fairly frequent and very annoying occurrence. The waiters are significant because they thwart Soapy's plans for arrest, but also because they signify food—another thing that is a little bit out of reach for Soapy most of the time.