Paul's Case Literary Analysis

Rachel Copeland

Point of View

By using the third person omnicient point of view the author depersonalizes Paul and makes him seem less significant because the story is not told from Paul's point of view. This insignificance ties in with the way in which Paul views is life outside the theater unimportant. The picture of the cross conveys how the narrator is like God, he has an objective point of view and is on the outside looking in.


The characterization of Paul gives insight into why he is so unhappy with his life and wants to live another one. It also gives the reader a chance to see where Paul is truly happy and gets to watch him live out his fantasy through the actors. The smiling theater mask represents Paul's happiness and bliss that surrounds his life when he is working and observing at the theater. The sad faced mask represents how quickly Paul's attitude can change once he is no longer living through the actors.


When the author describes the setting of the story he uses dark imagery and a negative tone for every place that Paul visits besides the theater and the hotel where he watches the actors. This extreme difference in the setting descriptions shows how Paul saw the life of the actors as so much greater than his own life. The candle light represents the small part of happiness that Paul finds in the theater in a world that Paul views as dark.


Sleep symbolizes the boredeom and repetitiveness that Paul viewed his life to be when he was not at the theater or watching the actors. He believed that the life of those actors was not as boring as his life and wanted to live a life that was full of excitement and riches like theirs. I chose the image of sleeping grass because once it is touched it comes to life for a short period of time then falls back into the same sleep when that quick moment of excitement is over, like Paul.


When someone is unhappy with their life, they often picture themselves in the lives of others who appear to be richer and happier, however in the end this fantasy consumes them and leads to their ultimate demise. The tree surrounded by the barren land symbolizes the small amount of true life that Paul found in the "dead" world that he lived in.

Works Cited

Geralt. Cross Sunset Sunrise Hill Sky Sun Crucifixion. Digital image. Pixabay. N.p., 30 Aug. 2007. Web. 8 Feb. 2013
Nemo. Schwarz Icon Gliederung Symbol Zeichnung Glücklich. Digital image. Pixabay. N.p., 24 Apr. 2012. Web. 8 Feb. 2013.
PublicDomainPictures. Candles Flames Darkness Three Candle Flame Dark. Digital image. Pixabay. N.p., 28 Feb. 2012. Web. 8 Feb. 2013.
Nemo. Sleeping Grass. Digital image. Pixabay. N.p., 12 Apr. 2012. Web. 8 Feb. 2013.
Patterson, Michael. Tree and Dead Grass. Digital image. Geograph. N.p., 2006. Web. 8 Feb. 2013.