Pauls Case Analysis Essay

964 WordsDec 14, 20074 Pages
When Dreams Come True Few people, even in today's world, are truly open-minded to the differences of others. They decide at an early age what, they believe, is the right way to live. But what happens when a truly unique boy is brought up in an environment where he is forced to believe he only has one option in life? "Paul's Case" by Willa Cather is a short story beautifully illustrating a young boy fighting to hold on to his identity in a town where his dreams are looked down upon and criticized. His struggle is displayed through characterization, setting, and symbolism. Characterization sets the stage for the beginning of Paul's fatal battle. Paul is described as being different from what most consider a normal boy. A…show more content…
Paul's fatal flaw was living in such a fantasy that when actuality hit, it killed him. Setting plays the most important role in this short story. Pittsburg, Paul's hometown, was filled with steel plants and workers. Men were expected to be tough and, after the required amount of school, go work in the steel industry. Steel was the heart of the town and every man who supported it was highly respected. This is illustrated by a friend of Paul's father who "was clerk to one of the magnates of a great steel corporation, and was looked upon in Cordelia Street as a young man with a future (495)." That fate is what was expected of all boys in Pittsburg. It even goes as far as to say that "he happened to be the young man who was daily held up to Paul as a model, and after whom it was his fathers dearest hope that he would pattern (495)". But Paul's dreams were completely contrary of what was expected and therefore were smothered by those around him. New York, on the other hand, stands for diverse culture, fine arts, and wealthy living. New York life began as a mere dream until he took it upon himself to make it into reality. Desperately trying to hold on to his identity, he stole almost three thousand dollars and boarded a train to New York. Just as he imagined, the city
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