Paul's Case Literary Analysis

Cheriti Lach

Point of View

After the beginning of the story where most of Paul's teacher's feelings about him are stated, the focus turns on Paul himself. The POV that is used for this short story, which is omniscient, helps explain the theme of this story by following Paul around and letting the readers know about his thoughts and the thoughs of others around him, also how he feels throughout the story is made pretty clear. The picture I chose was a video recorder. I chose this because in an omniscient point of view, the narrator basically follows the story, like in a reality TV show. The point of focus can be changed at any time. For example, it was changed from the teachers to Paul.


The main characterization I understood from this short story was that Paul wanted to be his own person. Cather characterizes Paul in multiple ways. His clothes, behavior, as well as the way he views the arts. The one thing that jumped out  is that he would lose himself in the arts, whether it be music or a performance. He was greatly influenced by these. I chose a a picture of a sort of combination of the arts he was interested in to describe this characterization.


The setting took place in two major cities. Pittsburge and New York. Paul hoesntly didn't like being in Pittsburge and had been planning to go to New York for a while. The fact that he went to New York to fulfil his dream conveys the theme in a great way. This was Paul's choice, it's what he wanted, this is where he wanted to be.  I chose a picture of a theater to support this device. I chose this because the theater is where Paul loved to be.


There were many symbols throughout this story. One was the red carnation, which symbolized Paul's attitude and mood. It could have also symbolized his want to be different, along with possibly his death? I also thought a small but I guess important symbol was his smile from the beginning, because he was depressed, but kept a smile on his face to hide his feelings. Another I found to be a major one , next to the red carnation, was New York. I feel Cather picked this City to connect that Paul was looking for success and his "perfect" life. A lot of young performing arts, or even just business adults look for success in New York. Most of which often fail, or it takes some time for them to reach their goals. Paul made a decision to try to reach that goal, but did in fact in the end, not reach it. I chose a red carnation, mostly because I think this was the biggest Symbol in the story. It didnt just symbolize one thing about Paul, but multiple.


A theme of this story could be the strive for individual can be a risky and dangerous road. Paul wanted to know who he really was. Riches and the arts and other things were who he was. All of these were his escape from his reality back in Pittsburgh. He had the theater at one point in time, but once his father took everything away, thats when he finally made the decision to go to new york. Stated in the previous box above, I said people look for success but do often fail. In this story, Paul did fail. We know this because when he ran out of his money and realized it takes more, he decided to choose the less stressful/depressing way out. The eye represents the way Paul saw things, the way he lost himself in what he really wanted. It also represents how he wanted to see who he really was.

Cited Images

Video Recorder - Vechi Video Desen Animat Camera Bord Film Gratuit. Digital image. Nemo, 18 Apr. 2012. Web.
Musical Arts - Dancing. Digital image. PublicDomainPictures, 14 Dec. 2012. Web.
Theatre - Smith, Colin. Shaftesbury Theatre. Digital image. N.p., 9 Dec. 2010. Web
Red Carnation - Red Flower Flowers Cartoon Plant Garden Carnation. Digital image. Nemo, 13 Apr. 2012. Web.
Eye - Eye. Digital image. PublicDomainPictures, 1 Apr. 2012. Web.