Paul's Case

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Flowers, Carnegie Hall, and Paul In "Paul's Case", author Willa Cather creates a young boy who feels trapped by "the hopelessness feeling of sinking back into ugliness and commonness", and who would do anything to move out of Cordlia street's "colorless existence." Paul, the young boy trapped by normal life, is looking for a way out. Paul is so desperate to get out of Pittsburgh he steals money from the Denny & Carson firm in order to travel to the glamorous city of New York. Living lavishly is Paul's ultimate goal in life. With New York being one of the biggest cities in the world, the reader realizes how high Paul's ambitions are. His life begins to bloom once he experiences what he has been missing out on while living in Pittsburgh. The flowers that are mentioned throughout the story symbolize Paul's life. Cather conveys Paul's ambitions with the use of symbolism and imagery, thereby constructing the theme of fortune can only bring happiness while it lasts.

In Paul's case, once he reaches this realization, h e turns to the most drastic decision-suicide.

Most of ''Paul's Case'' is set in winter. A very important aspect of winter in relation to the story is that flowers don't bloom during this time of the year. In the beginning he wears a red carnation in his buttonhole to show his rebellion towards the teachers. He thinks his house unworthy of flowers, but his hotel room is. A more significant use for the flower takes place when he passes a flower shop and thinks about the flowers blooming despite the winter. The flowers are symbolizing Paul's rebellion towards the teachers, who symbolize the harsh winter within his life. While living in Pittsburgh, Paul doesn't have many of the high-class...