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Essays on The Indian in the Cupboard

Lynne Reid Banks’ The Indian in the Cupboard is a magical tale for both adults and children.  It is the story of what happens when a little boy is given a magical wooden cupboard for his birthday.  The one present that he does not want turns out to be a magical gift that changes his life.  The magic that results teaches Omri about understanding, respect and the differences in people.

The Indian in the Cupboard

For his birthday, Omri’s older brother gives him a small wooden cupboard with a key.  He also receives an old plastic Indian from his friend Patrick.  After the party, Patrick and Omri play with the Indian and a cowboy figure, until it was time to go home. When he got home, the following happened:

  1. At first, Omri did not care for the present, as he had received many more interesting things for his birthday. 
  2. He put it in his room. 
  3. That night, Omri locked the Indian in the cupboard, but during the night heard knocking. 
  4. When he opened the cupboard, the Indian was alive. 

That was the secret: turn the key once and whatever was inside would come alive, turn it twice and things would return to being toys.

Omri and Little Bear become friends.  Patrick eventually finds out the secret and wants to bring his cowboy (Boone) to life.  Omri did not want Patrick to do this, as he had promised to keep Little Bear safe.  But when he leaves the room, Patrick brings Boone to life. The adventures that result teach Omri many things about life and friendship.

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