Essay on Paul’s Case: A Study in Temperament by Willa Cather

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A Symbolic Perception Imagine being entrapped in a life that you did not feel you belonged in. That is the story of Paul in “Paul’s Case,” written by Willa Cather. He lived in a suburban home where everyone seemed the same and there was a feeling of despair. Paul, who was a young man, felt that his father, teachers and classmates misunderstood him and therefore were unworthy of his company. In the story there are many symbolic elements. Flowers, for instance, symbolize Paul’s personality and life. The parallel between the boy and the flowers is made by the author many times throughout the short story. In the beginning of the story Paul has a meeting with the teachers of his school because he was misbehaving. For the meeting…show more content…
He became lost in the music, plays, and art. While Paul was at home, he would dream about the life he believed himself to be living as “a morbid desire for cool things and soft lights and fresh flowers” (55). To Paul, people who enjoyed having the presence of flowers seemed to be of a higher class above the rest. That is why he always wore a flower. He describes his neighbourhood, the people he despises to be, “prosy men who never wore frock coats, or violets in their buttonholes (pg. 60).” He would dream about, “the flowers he sent (pg. 60),” to members of the stock company who were his “acquaintances.” Paul wants to be as the flowers, living to all of their extent, saturating in the beauty of life. While Paul was in New York City one of the first things he did was “[ring] for the bell boy [to send] him down flowers” (62). He was living out his dreams. He was pleased with his surroundings and his style of living during his days in New York and expressed his “dearest pleasure [was] . . . his enjoyment of his flowers” (66), and goes on to say that he couldn’t remember a time of such bliss. He loved all forms of creative expression and was intrigued by, “whole flower gardens blooming behind glass windows, against which the snowflakes stuck and melted; violets, roses, carnations, lilies of the valley-somehow vastly more lovely and alluring that they blossomed thus unnaturally in the snow.” (64) The flowers induce

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