Paul's Case Literary Analysis

Christine Bademian

Point of View

In the beginning of "Paul's Case", the reader is introduced to Paul through the eyes of his father and teachers, the former not being able to understand him, and the latter being annoyed by his arrogance.  The teachers compalin about his attitudea and the fact that he wears a red flower over his shabby clothing, looking down on the fact that he tries to stand out from his peers.  As the story shifts to Paul's point of view, the reader begins to see his own thoughts and feelings.  It is revealed that Paul feels most comfortable in the theatre and prefers to surround himself with finer people.  The more in-depth point of view allows the reader to view Paul's downward spiral as soon as he enters New York, and allows readers to understand his reasoning behind his suicide. 

Characterization

The author goves the reader an immediate description of Paul, and then later develops how he slowly spirals out of control.  Paul tries to appear important and dignified through his lies and the red flower he wears.  However, ast he story goes on and Paul arrives at New York, the reader is able to see how Paul's life is being ruined and that no matter how hard he tries to escape from reality, he can never truly hide from it forever.  This realization at the end eventually casues Paul's suicide.  The picture of the theatre relates to how Paul feels most comfortable and acts like himself when surrounded by theatre life.  

Setting

Paul never enjoyed his home life unles it was in the theater.  The natural world to him was never as fantastical as the world he imagined.  When in New York, Paul is surrounded by sophisticated and smartly dressed men and women and has never flet more at home.  New York is filled with all the things Paul loves, including theater and music and classy people.  Although the few days spent in New York are spectacular and peaceful, Paul is still unable to escape from reality and his fantasy is soon crushed by his thievery and is then faced with reality.  Because of his time in New York, the picture related back to the story effectively.

Symbolism

The red flower is always on or around Paul; from the beginning when he was scorned by his teachers to his death when he buries it int he snow.  The red flower symbolizes Paul.  It sticks out against his clothes adn the bright color contrasts with the white snow.  Paul constantly tries to stand out be telling lies to appear impressive to his classmates.  Like Pual, the flower is looked down upon by his teachers.  The buriel of the flower symbolizes Paul's own death at the end.  Since the main symbol discussed here is the red flower, the picture of a red carnation appropriately fits.

Theme

Paul prefers the artificial world to the natural.  He is most comfortable when surrounded by theater and generally despises the "ugliness" of the natural world, saying it "nearly always wore the guise of ugliness."  To him, beauty was always in the artificial world.  The hatred of the natural world relates to his constant escape from reality, and when he is finally faced with reality, he comments that the snow in Central Park is beautiful, but then immediately compares it to a theater production. 
Human Brain Think. 2012. Photograph. Pixabay. 1 Mar. 2012. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.
Muttoo, Ian. Theatre Royal Panorama. 2009. Photograph. Brighton, UK. Fototpedia. 4 Dec. 2009. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.
C, David. New York City. 2009. Photograph. Fototpedia. 4 Oct. 2009. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.
Bright Red Marigold. N.d. Photograph. Public Domain Image. By Leon Brooks. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.
Bruna, Fabio. Pathe Tuschinski. 2011. Photograph. Fotopedia. 7 Mar. 2011. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.