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The life-sized figure of the boy that is part of this tableau continues the theme of incarceration in his shirt’s vertical stripes, reminiscent of the garb worn in the concentration camps.

In direct opposition to the warning signage, the boy is sticking his left hand into the cage of the mouse. The implicit danger is that his finger will be gnawed on just as the mouse has gnawed on the corner of the book Stuart Little (the altered book that functions as the lead-in to the Animal Friends tableau) dangling into the top of his cage, the floor of which is littered with book debris.

The cage is installed directly in the chain link fence and can be viewed both from the exterior and the interior. Also, it’s a cage within a cage, which is a metaphor for the larger tableau.

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© 2019 Christine Oatman