Paul's Case Literary Anyalysis

Amanda Beaman

Point of View

Nemo. Blue Eyes. Digital image. Pixabay.com. Pixabay, 24 Apr. 2012. Web. 08 Feb. 2013. The point of view in this short story is Third person omniscient, or "all knowing." This helps to show the readers how every character feels about Paul. It gives us insight to Paul's skewed view of his surroundings. His teachers see him as a vindictive boy that causes disappointment in most people. These views intertwine into the theme because we understand his manipulation causes much problem in his life. I chose an eye to represent point of view; it symbolizes the all knowing aspect of the narration in this short story. These views from everyone's eyes help us grasp Paul's character and the underlying theme.

Characterization

Harper, Derek. Fog. Digital image. Geograph.org. Geograph, 2009. Web. 8 Feb. 2013. The characterization of Paul makes up most of the theme. Paul is a boy who doesn't fit in anywhere, but he finds extreme passion in something that he has no connection to. He uses the rich luxuries he surrounds himself with at Carnegie Hall to start his addicting fantasy life. Paul becomes wrapped up in this world of riches, and sees everyone else as mere people of little importance. His addictive tendencies leads him to a dark cynical view on his life. He wonders if his father had accidentally killed him, if he would regret it. Becoming too wrapped up in extreme passions can cause severe lonlieness and and unhappiness, and that is exactly how Paul fell to his death. I used the picture of a foggy road to symbolize the cloudiness and haze that Paul had put himself in by creating his fantasy. His illusion of his life led to downfall.

Setting

Nullahumana. NewYork Bridge. Digital image. Pixabay.com. Pixabay, 24 Oct. 2012. Web. 8 Feb. 2013. The setting plays a huge role in sparking Paul's overdose on his fantasy. At school he is detached and thinks that he is above everyone there including the teachers and principal. He often lied to the students about his "extravagant life," but no one ever believed him. He found light through his job at Carnegie Hall when he experienced the essence of the orchestra. After his job was taken from him he had to find that light somewhere else. New York City was where he actually got to live this fantasy. Overall, his mood was dependent on his location. I used the picture of a New York bridge to represent Paul's last straw to his dream life.

Symbolism

Hans. Red Carnation. Digital image. Pixabay.com. Pixabay, 17 Aug. 2012. Web. 8 Feb. 2013. At the beginning of the story Paul wears a red carnation on his shirt to the meeting with his teachers. They assume that it is a continuation of his disobedience towards them. This shows them that he truly doesn't care about what he has done to get in trouble. At the end of the story, Paul buys red carnations and carries them to the train tracks. He then buries them in the snow to foreshadow his death. The red carnation symbolizes Paul's character of defiance, and when he buries them it represents the death of himself. This symbolism helps illuminate the theme of the overbearing weight that such luxuries can put on someone. I chose the picture of the red carnation because it is the predominant symbol in "Paul's Case."

Theme

Baxtor, Walter. Winter Isolation. Digital image. Geograph.org.uk. Geograph, 2010. Web. 8 Feb. 2013. The theme of "Paul's Case," is that extreme levels of passion and fantasies can lead to disappointments and loneliness. Cather uses point of view, characterization, setting, and symbolism to convey this theme. After everything Paul put himself through he isn't able to grasp what real life is anymore, and that is his striking downfall. I chose the picture of the winter isolation scene to illustrate the theme of alienation due to too much fantasy and unrealistic passions.