A Dolls House

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade May 2001

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In Willa Cather's "Paul's Case" and Catherine Manfield's "Mrs. Brill", there are two characters that are very similar. The characters are Paul and Mrs. Brill. Willa Cather and Catherine Manfield show Paul's and Mrs. Brill's through their possessions, Isolation that they bring on themselves, and their resolution. Paul's prize possession is a rose that he wears on his jacket. This rose is what Paul uses to try to use to make himself look sophisticated. This symbolizes how Paul is tricky and conniving, but also very smart is when he wants to be. However, Mrs. Brill's possession is an old fur coat. The coat is old and losing all of its fur. Mrs. Brill feels extremely elegant when she wears this. This coat symbolizes that Mrs. Brill has nothing, so the little things that she does have means a lot to her.

Another way to compare these characters is through their isolation from the rest of the world.

Paul wants to live on his own so he doesn't have to have anyone boss him around. Paul's main concern is to get away from his house, his getaway, or isolation from his life, is Cordelia Street. It is a place where fagged-looking business men get on the early car; mere rivets in a machine". (274) This means that everyone has there own set place and routine. On the other hand, Mrs. Brill's Isolation is shown through her bench that she likes to sit on at the park. The park bench is Mrs. Brill's barrier between her and the rest of society. She has interest in lots of people, but she prefers to be alone and makes no effort to become friendly with anyone. She even gets mad when a young couple sits down on the bench with her.

The last way to compare Paul and Mrs. Brill is the resolution that they make. Paul's resolution is that he decides to take his life. He gets very depressed. He killed himself by walking in front of a locomotive. After Paul decided to do it he had second thoughts, but it was too late. "When the right moment came, he jumped. As he fell, the folly of his haste occurred to him with merciless clearness, the vastness of what he had left undone" (276), clearly shows that he didn't want to die. Mrs. Brill's resolution is when she gets her honey cake with an almond in it. This is the high point of her day. Another resolution of Mrs. Brill's is when she takes off the fur coat and she took off her jewelry. "She unclasped her necklace and laid it inside quickly; quickly without looking, laid it inside"(52). After this Mrs. Brill has all of her fancy clothing off.

Paul and Mrs. Brill have very similar topics that can be compared in three different ways. One can see through these three traits that Mrs. Brill and Paul have some very like lifestyles. Theses two stories imply that isolation and resolutions can be some pretty bad things. If Paul and Mrs. Brill would have been less isolated maybe their resolutions could have been better.