Symbolism of Flowers in ?Paul?s Case? In life certain things, to each person, can become increased in value and can provide a momentary release from all that is undesirable. In the short story ?Paul?s Case? by Willa Cather flowers become symbolic of Paul?s relentless but doomed determination to escape his world of middle class conformity and inhabit an exotic universe of the arts, of beauty, of artificiality and of wealth.
To begin with, early in the story the reader becomes aware that flowers play a large part in Paul?s life. Paul is before a committee of teachers to ?account for his various misdemeanors?(141) at school. He appears before the committee sporting a red carnation in his button hole. The reader does not yet know that the flowers symbolize, to Paul, the world he loves, the world of the arts. By wearing the carnation at the meeting he is calmed by its presence.
Paul uses the carnation to lessen his dislike of school by bringing a piece of the arts into his real life. The carnation makes him feel like he is part of the rich cultured world. However, it failed to impress the teachers. The teachers felt that the carnation ?was not properly significant of the contrite spirit befitting a boy under the ban of suspension?(142). It just caused the dislike of Paul to grow.
Next, the reader becomes more familiar with importance of flowers, to Paul, in the story when Paul is walking home from Carnagie Hall. He turns onto Cordelia Street and becomes depressed. He begins thinking about all the things that he hates about his life on Cordelia Street. In light of the depression Paul develops ?...a morbid desire for cool things and soft lights and fresh flowers?(148). From this revelation the reader can come to the...