Paul's Case Analysis

Theme Statement:

Paul alienates himself from the normal, "ugly", and "natural" society by expressing contempt towards his family, classmates, and teachers, all of whom he pegs as ordinary and mediocre which are two words that do not describe Paul. Paul's self alienation is the main focus of the theme of Paul's Case. The theme is self-alienation from "normal" society leads one to create a fantasy world that becomes more appealing than the real world, and one begins to believe one's own lies leading one to make unrealistic expectations Those expectations along with other aspects can cause one to be unable to face reality.
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Point of View

The story is first told in the P.O.V. of Paul's teachers. It is in these few paragraphs that we get tot see how others feel about Paul and we see Paul's defiant and flippant nature. We are also introduced to Paul's past which shines some light on what may have led Paul to his self-alienation. Around paragraph 11 the P.O.V. shifts to telling Paul's story and we are able to understand even more his feeling of contempt towards his teachers, classmates, family, his boring life, and his inability to escape it fully. By having the P.O.V. stay focused on Paul we are able to feel everything he feels but by being 3rd person we are left with some mystery and many parts of the story are left up to our own interpretation.

This image conveys the device because it is a movie poster from a movie in which the a disembodied voice is narrating a man's life from the third person omniscient point of view.

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As the story develops we are shown that Paul has an obsession with art, theater, and music and through this obsession he believes he has found his ideal fantasy world. This world is more appealing to him than the boring one he lives now, he lies to his classmates, and even begins to believe his own lies. His lies spread to his family and teachers so he can continue to indulge himself in this fantasy world that he find to appealing. The fact that Paul doesn't want to join the art world but sit back and watch shows that he is no action and all talk. Although Paul's fantasy world is filled with glamour and stage lights it is often darkened by the thoughts of drastically disappointing his father and plans of taking his own life. The final act of his suicide is brought along by not just one action or thought but Paul's realization that all his reasons for unhappiness and alienation have finally converged.

This picture conveys to the characterization of Paul because it is what i believe Paul looked like when he reached his "peak of success" while in NYC. This image is also from the 1980 TV Special "Paul's Case."

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Paul works as an usher at Carnegie Hall and it is where we spends most of his free time, that is when he isn't hanging out with Charley Edwards. It is between Carnegie Hall and Edward's rehearsals that Paul feels the most satisfaction, where we completely indulges in his fantasy world, and where Paul can truly escape from his boring and mundane life at Cordelia Street. Paul becomes offended and upset when anything or anyone from his boring life intrudes into his fantasy world, for example when his English teacher comes to Carnegie Hall, Paul is upset but he feels much better when he noticed that her clothes are much too casual for the fancy music hall. Although Paul shows no drive in school,he is an excellent usher because he feels more at home in the music hall than anywhere else. In the beginning of Paul's New York trip the city seems to provide him with the same satisfaction as the music hall and Edward's rehearsals, but as all the forces that led to his alienation all come crashing down New York loses its glimmer and so does Paul.

This picture conveys this device because it depicts Carnegie Hall as it may have been when Paul was an usher and displays the grandeur of the hall as Paul saw it.

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The red carnation that Paul keeps in his button hole and later buys in NYC represents Paul himself. At first it represents Paul's showy attitude, defiance towards his teachers, and unwillingness to show remorse for the his actions that got his suspended from school in the first place. Towards the end of the story Paul buys carnations again and he realized that they wilted in the cold. It is here that the carnations represent how Paul is also welting from the cold life he is living and from the pressured of the life he is living. By burying a carnation in the snow Paul is symbolically burying himself before he literally ends his own life.

This image conveys this device because it is an image of the major symbol in Paul's Case.

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The theme of Paul's Case is about alienation and how its unrealistic expectations can cause us to want to live in a fantasy world forever causing us to never be able to face reality. As Paul alienates himself from society and his peers he creates a fantasy world which creates unrealistic expectations that the real world will never be able to meet, so Paul keeps fueling his fantasy with art hoping that his lies with become truth. Although when first arriving in New York Paul was having a grand time and he seemed happy he still has looming thoughts of ending his life as seen in the act of buying a gun. Like most cases of alienation from society the pressures from the alienation become too much to bear and along with his inability to face reality Paul ends his own life.

This picture conveys this device because it depicts a human being recoiled from society and suffering just as Paul did in Paul's Case.


411qwFLChwL._SL500_AA300_. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb. 2013.

Carnegie Hall. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb. 2013.

Paul's Case Still Shot. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb. 2013.

Red Carnation Flower. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb.

Sabu. "Alienation Nightmare" Digital image. Sabu, n.d. Web. 7 Feb. 2013.