Paul's Case Analysis

Amy Fleeger

Point of View

Through Paul's point of view we see the uncertainty and hopelessness that he feels. When running away Paul does not confront his fears and runs away from his reality. By viewing this story from Paul's eyes, the reader can relate to him, because as humans we do not want to face our fears or insecurities, we run away and try to forget. Paul shows cowardice by running away, instead of taking on his reality and learning to just live with it. The reader can also see Paul's indifference towards learning that people, including his father, are searching for him, "the rumor had reached Pittsburgh that the boy had been seen in a New York hotel, and his father had gone east to find him and bring him home." It is almost like a "Oh I did that, oops." In a sense he likes the attention that he is receiving by running away. It's showing the reader that Paul likes knowing that people are finally noticing him. We see at the end where he has just come to accept that he cannot take on his reality. In this picture the light and door depicts Paul's fairytale land that he escapes to when his life becomes rough and the darkness is the reality that he leaves behind when he enters his dream world.

Characterization

Paul is an artisic person who escapes from the world by listening to music and looking at art. Paul is taken away into a world of his own when he goes to Carnegie Hall and listens to the music, "Paul sank into one of the rear seats with a long sigh of relief, and lost himself." The reader would not expect him to be into the arts, because of his character in school, the kid that is a troublemaker and doesn't care about school work. However, he is escaping his reality and all the troubles that he goes through school and "forgot even the nastiness of his teacher being there." He is so into music that he is forgetting his teacher imposing on his own little world. The artistic side of Paul feels "a sudden zest of life." He doesn't have to worry about anything else in his life and really appreciates the arts and music around him. The colorful notes in the picture show the artistic character of Paul and the the burst of life and happiness he feels when listening to music.

Setting

The transition from Carnegie Hall to Cordelia Street shows Paul's transition from his own fantasy world to his reality. The changing of settings represent Paul's realization that his life is not so great and he doesn't have anything going for him, "he approached it tonight with the nerveless sense of defeat, the hopeless feeling of sinking back forever into ugliness." Carnegie Hall is his escape from this feeling, but Cordelia Street shows the transtiion from his dream world to his not so good home life, where his father is unpredictable and shows not warmth or affection towards his son, "the moment he turned onto Cordelia Street, he felt the waters close above his head." When the setting changes to New York, we see Paul, once again, running from his realty and trying to live a luxurios life, if only for a little time. The street in the picture represents Cordelia Street. The darkness represents the hopelessness that Paul feels when he enters his street. In the story the street seems very dark compared to Carnegie Hall where Paul feels happy and alive.

Symbolism

At the end of the story Paul buries a red flower in the snow. The red flower represents Paul's hope or flee from reality that has finally come to an end. The vibrancy of the color of the flower was Paul's hopes and dreams to escape from his realiy, "the carnations in his coat were drooping with cold, he noticed their red glory over." The flower is Carnegie Hall and New York, where he runs away when he doesn't want to face his fears and once again his reality. He knew that the running and escaping was going to have to come to an end and that he could not keep going. In the end he "took one of the blosoms carefully from his coat and scooped a little hole in the snow, where he covered it up." His dreams and fantasy died and the flower represents this death and final burial. The picture shows the bright flower being covered by the snow, which show Paul's final realization that he can not keep running from his troubles.

Theme

Fantasy and dream worlds are always going to be better than reality, because it's what we want, but ultimately people can not run away or escape it. There's always going to be the realization that our dream worlds are going to have to come to an end. People might escape too much into their own worlds and then think that they can't handle their reality and it becomes too much for them. Paul tries to escape his reality mulitiple times by losing himself in music/arts and then running away to New York, where he lives luxuriously for a brief time. But once he spends all his money, he comes to the realization that this isn't his life and that in reality he can't handle his real life. Paul has a lot of realizations throught the story and ultimately he can't take on his reality and his fantasy life comes to an end. The picture represents the fantasy world that people make up to escape their reality. The bright colors and light in the picture represent the happiness that we feel when we enter that world, but the darkness around the colors show that reality will always be present and never go away completely when you fade into your happy world. The two coincide and mix together.

Citations

Alexandrova, Elizaveta. Red Flower. Digital image. 123RF. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb. 2013.

Cool Earth Space. Digital image. Wallsonline.org. N.p., 20 Oct. 2012. Web. 7 Feb. 2013.

Digifuture. Colorful Music Notes. Digital image. 123RF. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb. 2013.

Ivičević, Katarina. Dark Street. Digital image. Fotoblur. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb. 2013.

Noxturnal. A Light in the Darkness. Digital image. Stuffpoint. N.p., 1 Feb. 2013. Web. 7 Feb. 2013.