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Paul's Case Essay

758 words - 4 pages

“Paul’s Case” is a short story by Willa Cather that was written in 1905. Paul is boy in high school that has many behavior problems. He strives for attention so badly that he feels that he needs to show out in order to receive the recognition that he wants, especially from his father. Willa Cather uses symbolism in her short story to develop the tragic demise of Paul.
The symbolism used in the first paragraph is repeated throughout the story. The red carnation that Paul has placed in the buttonhole symbolizes his unreal desire to become recognized. The carnation is very flamboyant and is not appropriate attire for the discipline meeting that Paul is having with the principal of his ...view middle of the document...

The glass is a symbol for what is separating Paul from his dream life. On one side of the glass is the harsh reality that is Paul’s life, while on the other side is the fantasy that Paul pictures himself fitting into.
The flowers in the story symbolize Paul’s place in the dream. He sees himself as the final piece his perfect life. When Paul comes arrives in the city, he spots that there are not any flowers in his room and orders for someone to retrieve some. Paul places them in water, and then gets into a bath himself. “When he was shown to his sitting-room on the eighth floor, he saw at a glance that was as it should be; there was but one detail in his mental picture that the place did not realize, so he rang for the bell boy and sent him down for flowers… When the flowers came, he put them hastily into water, and then tumbled into a hot bath” (544-545). Paul feels like the flowers are needed to complete the mental image he has of his perfect life. In the room, there were no flowers,...

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