“Paul’s Case” is a short story by Willa Cather that was written in 1905. Paul is boy in high school that has many behavior problems. He strives for attention so badly that he feels that he needs to show out in order to receive the recognition that he wants, especially from his father. Willa Cather uses symbolism in her short story to develop the tragic demise of Paul. The symbolism used in the first paragraph is repeated throughout the story. The red carnation that Paul has placed in the buttonhole symbolizes his unreal desire to become recognized. The carnation is very flamboyant and is not appropriate attire for the discipline meeting that Paul is having with the principal of his school and all of his teachers that also have …show more content…
On one side of the glass is the harsh reality that is Paul’s life, while on the other side is the fantasy that Paul pictures himself fitting into.
The flowers in the story symbolize Paul’s place in the dream. He sees himself as the final piece his perfect life. When Paul comes arrives in the city, he spots that there are not any flowers in his room and orders for someone to retrieve some. Paul places them in water, and then gets into a bath himself. “When he was shown to his sitting-room on the eighth floor, he saw at a glance that was as it should be; there was but one detail in his mental picture that the place did not realize, so he rang for the bell boy and sent him down for flowers… When the flowers came, he put them hastily into water, and then tumbled into a hot bath” (544-545). Paul feels like the flowers are needed to complete the mental image he has of his perfect life. In the room, there were no flowers, showing that Paul was not in the dream. His getting the flowers, symbolizes that he had finally placed himself in the dream.
Towards the end of the story, Paul takes a walk in the park where he sees flowers blooming in a glass case. This symbolizes that it is not possible for Paul’s dream to be actuality , or at least under his circumstances. "Here and there on the corners were stands, with whole flower gardens booming under glass cases, against the sides of which the snow flakes stuck and melted; violets, roses,
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Paul also openly criticizes conformity frequently throughout the story. Paul’s criticisms can be seen in his detailed observations of people and their routines. However, none of these criticisms compare to Paul’s hate for his home on Cordelia Street. Cather describes Cordeila Street, noting that all the houses are identical, as well as its inhabitants. Following the description of the street, Cather describes Paul’s hatred for his mediocrity plagued home is expressed: “Paul never went up Cordelia Street without a shudder of loathing… he approached it to-night with the nerveless sense of defeat, the hopeless feeling of sinking back forever into ugliness and commonness that he had always had when he came home”(Pg. 5). Later on in the story, while Paul is in New York and is contemplating his fear of being reprimanded for his actions, he constantly reminds himself of the painful existence that awaits him on Cordelia Street: “It was to be worse than jail, even; the tepid waters of Cordelia Street were to close over him finally and forever. The grey monotony stretched before him in hopeless, unrelieved years”(Pg. 13). Cather seems to use Cordiela street as a all-encompassing metaphor for conformist society; and Paul’s individuality and hate for Cordiela Street serves as the contrasting element, in turn becoming the most
Lawrence shows many points by applying these obvious symbols: the rocking horse and the whispering house. The wooden rocking horse symbolizes the fantasy quest that Paul takes to attain luck. This magical mysterious wooden horse also tells Paul who will win the horse races. The whispering house symbolizes his mother’s lust for money. The house constantly haunts Paul and his siblings with the
In both stories, the authors use symbolism to show the reader the impact that the characters’ surroundings had on them. Paul reacted by running away and trying to make his dream world a reality. In the end, he decided that he would rather end his life than to return to the mundane lifestyle he left behind. The narrator of
The significance of the vivid image as a vivid memory in the story means the audience can take part in Paul’s journey.So that they can empathize with him and his experiences, through distinctively visual.
They play a big role in his life. They teach him that going with the flow might be easy but it is not the right way to deal with problems. On page 38, it states, “I used to tell people that I once stared too long at a solar eclipse. But if that’s the truth, if that really happened, why can’t I remember it? This shows how Paul grows throughout the book. He has always told people that he stared at an eclipse, but then with the assistance of the flashbacks, Paul starts to inquire himself: Does a person have to remember something for it to be true? The solar eclipse ends; the sun shines through the cloud and the blinding truth is
Symbols are one of those most important things to a story. They share the meaning of themselves, as well as the meaning for something else. Symbols usually make the important ideas stick out as well as make the reader have different ideas of what is actually being said. One of the many symbols in “Paul’s Case” is flower’s. From violets to carnations, the flowers Paul talks about are ones of many meanings. The flowers represent a continual motif, expressing Paul’s character.
Secondly, Paul experiences a growing understanding of his family. When Paul and his mom first move into Tangerine his mom doesn’t see the beauty of the area. She says, “‘Good Heavens! Look at that.’ Black smoke was pouring from a huge bonfire of trees” (8-9). Paul’s mom immediately notices the negative things in the area and doesn’t see the positive things. Also it affects how Paul sees things because his mom is changing how he thought of the place by saying negative things. On the other hand Mom and Dad don’t see the consequences of their actions when lying to Paul about his eyesight. Dad said, “‘The doctors told us that you might never remember. And we figured that that was the best way to handle the situation,” He shook his head sadly.’ We wanted to find a way to find a way to keep
Willa Cather's "Paul's Case," displays the conflict between conformity and individuality through the main character, Paul. On a number of occasions, Paul is forced to lie and steal to escape the conformists who wish to control him and stifle his unique imagination. However, his lying, stealing, and attempts to escape the conformists, only force Paul into isolation, depression, and feeling a sense of shame for his individuality. Throughout the story one might see Cather's constant contrast of individuality versus conformity, as well as Paul's lying and stealing. Cather seems to draw the conclusion that extreme individuals, much like Paul are simply misunderstood, and not offered the acceptance they desire
Paul was a self-oriented boy, concerned with money, wealth, and glamour, raised in a Calvinist household that supported these ideals. Through my research I have decided that Paul's eventual fate was not any one person's fault. Paul was just as much to blame as his father and teachers for Paul's suicide.
Willa Cather introduces the audience to Paul who lives in two distinct worlds. The industrialized middle class neighbourhoods of Philadelphia. Contrasted by the beautiful world of theatre and art, at Carnegie hall. Paul feels trapped by the mundane existence of the middle class, and is drawn towards his idealized life. A life of quality and meaning, full of beautiful people and interesting things.
A lifelong dream of Paul occurs when he makes the trip to New York City. The trip to New York City gives Paul the opportunity to live the life he always dreamed of. After being forced to leave his job as an usher at Carnegie Hall Paul gets a job working at Denny and Carson’s office firm. He gets the money to go to New York City by taking the money
During this time, Paul contemplates a plan to ask his father for a cab fare. He will tell his father that the money is to make it over to his friend’s house, when he is really planning on making his way to New York City. This escape to New York City is a way out of his life that he is struggling to get through. “The east-bound train was ploughing through a January snowstorm...” (Cather). Now, aboard a train to New Jersey, Paul is longing for the beauty of New York. After the train stops in Newark, Paul hopes to spend a night or two in town and then get on board another train that will take him to New York. The time part of the setting impacts the story greatly, since the story is based in the winter. Winter represents the end of things in literature and it is in this winter, that Paul goes on to commit suicide.
The protagonist in Willa Cather's short story, "Paul's Case," is adolescent named Paul. Paul's problem is that he has trouble following rules. Paul has a problem with various kinds of authorities including his teachers, principal, and father. From Paul's perspective, his problem is society. Society does not conform to him and repeatedly makes attempts on him to conform to it. Paul is disgusted, repulsed, and bored by middle class life in Pittsburgh. Paul's real problem is that he lacks perspective. This is a young man that is ferociously hungry for life outside of a small town or small city, which is partially the reason why he steals $1,000 and flees to New York City. Paul does not have an appropriate outlet through which to explore and channel his exuberant and odd energy. It is only when he is committing suicide by throwing himself in front of an oncoming train that he is capable of imagining a life both outside of the life he left behind, but not so far outside in the margins of society that cannot be a contributing member of society. Paul craves new experiences that expand his horizons and challenge him in ways unknown to him in his life back in Pittsburgh. His lack of perspective keeps him from being available to the myriad of choices he has in life but does not yet see. Ironically, it is only when his life is about to conclude when he realizes how much he wants to live and do. These feelings are often expressed by people who have
The use of symbolism by each poet conveys a powerful representation of different ways throughout each poem. While going through their checklist, Snodgrass reminds himself to put an aspirin in the flowers to keep them preserved. These flowers symbolize the love and affection the couple shares hoping to keep their love preserved as well when they return to their normal lives. This symbolism connection is the only sort emotion Snodgrass uses in his poem to show these two were intimate.
Paul 's Cathedral. In this poem, Blake makes the readers visualize a beautiful moment of these children singing at church during this beautiful holiday. The main point of this poem is to show the religious atmosphere during a Holy Thursday, how everybody gets together including the children from the orphanage. The way Blake compares these poor kids with flowers is a beautiful way to see more than clothes and financial situation. It is really sweet and adorable how Blake refers to them as "flowers of London town!" because they are beautiful kids all around London. Blake talks about them in a positive way, however, they were poor kids that may not be clean the whole time, maybe they do not wear clean clothes the whole time. He also talks about the guardians of those kids, they were not alone they were always sitting with their guardians, because those kids are from orphans they have to go to certain places with their guardians.