Paul's case Literary Analysis

Katelyn Ohlstein

Point of view

The point of view of "Paul's Case" is third person limited to Paul. As the story goes on, we follow Paul wherever he goes, and we know what he is thinking. However, we don't know what other characters think, and all we know about them is what Paul knows about them.
HollyPie. The Old Camera. Digital image. Deviantart. N.p., Oct. 2012. Web. 13 Feb. 2013.


By using a third person point of view, we are able to focus solely on who Paul is. We know what he does, why and how he feels about it. This helps us learn who he is without the influence of other characters who he encounters.
Nemo. Baby Eyes Eye Happy Kid Girl Faces Kids Face. Digital image. Pixabay. N.p., 24 Apr. 2012. Web. 13 Feb. 2013.


To express Paul's materialism and unhappiness with his life, cather constantly changes the setting. Paul goes to New York City with stolen money and poses as a rich young man. New York is the only place where Paul feels comfortable amidst the material objects-champagne, nice clothes, etc. he finds in the City. Salao228. City New York Nyc United States Panoramic View. Digital image. Pixabay. N.p., 16 Nov. 2012. Web. 8 Feb. 2013.


Cather uses red carnations to symbolize Paul's defiance. When his defiance is at its highest in the suspension meeting with his teachers and principal at the beginning of the book, the red carnation Paul wears is beautiful and in full bloom. As Paul's defiance begins to die, and he begins to lose hope in life, the bouquet of carnations he's carrying wilt and die. After his defiance-the flowers-has died, Paul commits suicide.
JamesDeMers. Red Carnations Flowers Fragrant Perennial. Digital image. Pixabay. N.p., 29 Dec. 2012. Web. 8 Feb. 2013.


Paul's deceit catches up with him as his money begins to run low. As he flees New York, he realizes that there is no escaping his troubles and lies. Paul commits suicide in a final act of desperation.

Murray-Rust, Alan. Swan Lane No. 3 Mill. Digital image. Geograph. N.p., 31 Aug. 2012. Web. 13 Feb. 2013.