Chester has very different expectations of how things work when he comes into New York City, and his belief that cats and mice are enemies everywhere is one of them. This is just one of many ways in which New York is different from his home back in Connecticut. Chester must learn the ropes of life in the big city so that he can grow comfortable being there. Even though it takes a while, Chester is up to the challenge.
"It made him feel better to think that there was one familiar thing, twinkling above him, amid so much that was new and strange."
On Chester's first night in New York, Tucker and Harry take him up out of the station to see Times Square glimmer in the night. It is very different from what Chester is used to, but he manages to find one familiar thing: a star in the sky that he recognizes from home. This star is a symbol of the place that Chester has left, and he will carry the thought of it with him to comfort him when everything else is new and strange.
"He's already been taught by the greatest teacher of all, Mario—Nature herself. She gave him wings to rub together and the instinct to make such lovely sounds. I could add nothing to the genius of this little black Orpheus."
Mr. Smedley immediately recognizes Chester's talent and how special it makes him, since, as a cricket, he possesses the kind of natural skill that humans do not. He even alludes to Orpheus, the mythological greatest musician who ever lived. Mr. Smedley and the Bellinis are the first humans to take note of Chester's beautiful music, but they will certainly not be the last. As the story goes on, Chester impresses more and more people with his musical chirp, for better or for worse.
"Good luck is coming your way. Be ready."
Mario's fortune cookie foreshadows the events to come later in the story. By finding Chester Cricket, the Bellinis have been granted a stroke of luck. Their newsstand's business has been suffering, but the profits Chester brings in by attracting patrons with his beautiful music turns the family's luck around. Chester desperately wanted to help the Bellinis in some way, since they were so good to him, and eventually he was able to use his talent to do just that—even if only for a short while.
"He was beginning to enjoy life in New York."
As Chester falls asleep in his matchbox after giving up his cage for Tucker to sleep in, he realizes that he is actually starting to like his life in the big city. This is the first sign that Chester is changing as a result of his time here. At first, Chester was uncomfortable and afraid of the strangeness around him; now, though, he has embraced his new life, and is proving his adaptability to new situations.
"It wouldn't be fair to Mario. I'll just have to serve out the time."
When Chester stoically resigns himself to serving out his time as a prisoner in his cage even though the other animals could let him out, he shows how much he cares for Mario and wants to make sure he does not let the boy down. He does the right thing in this situation, proving that he has sound moral values.
"Whenever mice are spoken of, never let it be said that Tucker Mouse was stingy with his worldly goods."
This quote says a lot about Tucker's character. Even though he is seemingly obsessed with wealth and material goods, what truly shines through is his kind heart and his desire to help his friend in whatever way possible, even if it means giving up most of his life savings. Tucker was Chester's first real friend in New York, and he continuously helps him through the rough patches.
"Tears welled up in her eyes as she thought of the bygone times, and very softly she began to murmur the words to the song."
As Mama Bellini listens to Chester chirp, she is brought back to a time in her past. This is an important moment because it shows the effect that Chester's music can have on people. It is also the moment that convinces her that Chester should be allowed to stay with them. From this point on, the Bellinis have a new understanding of Chester Cricket and his talent, and soon they will realize how this talent can help them.
"I guess I'm just feeling Septemberish. It's getting toward autumn now. And it's so pretty up in Connecticut. All the trees change color. The days get very clear—with a little smoke on the horizon from burning leaves. Pumpkins begin to come out."
After a week of playing concerts for the humans nonstop, Chester is beginning to miss home. For the past two months, he has grown used to life in New York City and has even come to love it. Now, though, he realizes that he has done everything that he can do here, and true happiness lies elsewhere for him. Chester's friends, Mario, Tucker, and Harry, realize this too, even though it hurts them to see him leave.
"And for a few minutes, while the song lasted, Times Square was as still as a meadow at evening, with the sun streaming in on the people there and the wind moving among them as if they were only tall blades of grass."
During Chester's final concert, all of Times Square pauses to listen to him. This runs parallel to Mr. Smedley's earlier allusion to Orpheus, and shows that Chester truly is a "little black Orpheus" (Chapter 5, pg. 36). Just like it did for Orpheus, the world has stopped to listen to Chester. His music has had a beautiful impact on New York City, and he can feel as if he has truly accomplished something as he heads home to Connecticut.
The Cricket in Times Square Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Cricket in Times Square is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Chester is not happy in New York anymore, and after a week of concerts, he decides the time has come to return to Connecticut.The animals are sad to see him go, but Tucker and Harry escort him to Grand Central Station after he plays his final...