Boot Camp Project

By Jaime Golata, Leslie Amaya, and Claire Mountcastle


-How does a person's surroundings influence their character

- In the small apartment everyone was uptight and mad with each other.

- When they moved to the bigger house everything was bright and happy.

- The change in location shows how a person's surroundings impact their character.

Short Story - Paul's Case

Summary - A young boy grows up in a very monotonous neighborhood, but ushers at a very prestigious theatre. He gets fed up with his boring home life and only feels alive and happy when he is around the theatre and the people in it. He decides he wants to be something bigger than he is so he goes to New York with the $1000 he steals and buys lavish clothes and stays in a fancy hotel. Once he is found out he realizes he can do it no longer and decides to kill himself


-The author uses flowers, especially the red carnation, to show his craving for a new beauty and "his inability to thrive in his environment".

-The carnation Paul wears is alive year round due to greenhouses correlates to how Paul only feels alive in "artificial environments, such as the theatre"

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Nonfiction - The Influence of Surroundings

Summary - Sidney Hare writes of landscape and city planning in Kansas City. He emphasizes how the design of any landscape can affect the city’s beauty and either hold up or degrade its reputation. Hare states that the addition of trees and shrubs can make even a cemetery seem like a happy place.

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Poem - Bay Poem from Berkley

Summary - This girl is reminiscing on her past summer when she was in Texas. While in Texas she met a boy that she fell in love with. But now she has to wake up to an empty bed and remember “where (she) is”.


- Discusses how Cisnero emphasizes how people change due to their house.

- The universal idea of a house is “comfort, security, and tranquility” but in many of Cisnero’s poems her characters see their house as a prison.

- A common theme is how her characters want to be “there” instead of “here”.

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Thematic Connection

Short Story

- It show's how a young boy can feel so different just based off his location.

- When he is at home he feels a "physical depression"

- When he is at the theatre he feels alive and happy.

- And in New York he feels like a completely different man.

- Paul's different attitude in all the different locations shows how a person's surrounding affects their character.


- Environment influences people to “adorn their home grounds”

- “the sight of a beautiful cemetery drove from his mind all thought of death, while a country cemetery with its uncared for graves and broken down monuments sent a shudder over him and make him think death was a horrible thing”

- If the environment starts out beautiful, it makes people want to keep it that way


- The girl in the poem fell in love with a boy but now that her location has changed and she can no longer be with the boy.

- This affects her perspective on life because she is constantly lonely and she longs to be back in Texas.


- The surroundings of a person can strongly affect their character; this can be seen through a short story by Willa Cather, a nonfiction piece by Sidney Hare and a poem by Sandra Cisneros.

Works Cited

Short Story

Cather, Willa. "Readbookonline." Red Book Online., 2011. Web. 23 May 2013.

Short Story Analysis

Crabtree, Sherry. "Cather's PAUL'S CASE." Gale. Gale, 2000. Web. 28 May 2013


Hare, Sidney J. “The Influence of Surroundings.” Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Kansas City, 2007. Sept. 1897. Web. May 23. 2013.


Cisneros, Sandra. "Under an Artichoke." trinaenriquez. Wordpress, 14 Feb 2012. Web. 29 May 2013.

Poem Analysis

Olivares, Julián. "Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street, and the Poetics of Space." Chicana Creativity and Criticism: New Frontiers in American Literature. Ed.

María Herrera-Sobek and Helena María Viramontes. University of New Mexico Press, 1996. 233-244. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Anna J. Sheets. Vol. 32. Detroit: Gale Group, 1999. Literature Resource Center. Web. 29 May 2013.

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