Paul's Case Literary Analysis

Gavriella Siman-Tov

Point of View

The author tells the story from the omniscient point of view. We can see this by the author allowing us to know what other people who surround Paul feel and how they internally react to the actions Paul does; it doesn't strictly follow what Paul says or does, This gives us a further inside into the minds of the author characters. This plays into the theme because it allows us to see the progression, or rather digression, of Paul’s character throughout the story instead of us simply relying on seeing the world from Paul’s eyes. The picture of the multiple people demonstrates that the story is not simply told from the point of view of one character, rather we get the story from multiple perspectives, hence the picture of multiple people and not simply one person.


Paul commits suicide because he could never attain the life that he wanted. He was stuck in his mundane lifestyle, which he knew he would have to return to eventually after his trip to New York. Throughout the story Paul has this habit of entering into a different world, where he can escape into whatever outlet he chose. In the end, he ends up actually escaping and going to New York, where he is able to act out the life he always wanted. In the end he knew that his adventure will come to a close. The picture of the bright city of New York symbolizes the life that Paul wanted. He wanted adventure and an exposure to culture, which people often say New York or other big cities are major sources of. The fact that the picture is taken from far away symbolizes that this is the life that Paul would always dream of, but could never fully attain.


The change of setting shows the steady progression of Paul wanting to change his life. The story begins with the school building, where Paul’s life actually takes place. Then the reader is able to go into Paul’s quasi-fantasy life of the theater and Carnegie Hall, where ironically the author says that this is the place where Paul really lives. In actuality, this is where Paul starts his escapes from the real world and is able to submerge himself into a fantasy and detach himself for a few hours from the real world. Then we finally see that he no longer is satisfied with fantasizing about a different life; he wants to actually live a different life. He goes to New York and takes on a different life, which shows the final stage of the theme that people sometimes try and seek out a different life. The reason why I chose a picture of a theater is because this is the place where Paul started to believe that there is a possibility of living a life beyond what he already had. He knew that there was something more then the life he was currently living because of the theater and the music that he listened to. The theater was a very influential setting on Paul’s actions; it was a source of inspiration. That is something that every person needs in order for them to believe that there is a life beyond what they currently live, a source of inspiration.


Throughout the story we see many symbols that could be interpreted in a variety of ways, but one symbol stays through the entire story, which is the carnation. It appears in the beginning as a sign of cheap class, again showing Paul’s attempt to change the life he is currently in and make himself seem with more class then the other students in the school. The reader also sees the carnation at the end when he buries it in the snow, symbolizing that it is time to end the charade and return to reality. However, as we know in the end instead of going back to his home he ends up committing suicide because he could not handle returning to his normal life. The persistent use of the carnation as a symbol is the reason why I chose a picture of a carnation.


The theme of story is that sometimes people believe they don’t deserve the life they are currently in and they want to try and seek out a new life. Life is like a hand in a card game. Sometimes people get a good hand and they are content with the cards they are given, while others believe that there is something better then what they were given. This is the reason why there is a picture of a deck of cards, because sometimes people are not content with what they are given and so they sometimes try and search through the deck for a better hand. This was the case with Paul, who went to New York to seek a better hand then what was given to him.


Building Sketch Erich People Team Work Teamwork. Digital image. N.p., 02 Apr. 2012. Web. 8 Feb. 2013. <>.
Card Game Cards Ten Heart Subjects Playing Cards. Digital image. N.p., 02 Dec. 2010. Web. 8 Feb. 2013. <>.
City Building Night View Night Lights City Lights. Digital image. N.p., 13 June 2007. Web. 8 Feb. 2013. <>.
O'Neil, Anthony. Concert Beginning at the Royal Festival Hall, London. Digital image. N.p., 27 Feb. 2011. Web. 8 Feb. 2013. <>.
Ray, Yana. Wild CAARNATION. Digital image. N.p., 13 Dec. 2010. Web. 8 Feb. 2013. <>.