Symbolism In 'Paul's Case'

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“Paul’s Case” presents us with the story of what seems like from an outside perspective, a young man would seemingly have a pretty average life. Although most people would be satisfied with such a life, Paul wants nothing more than to be different. Paul’s appearance and his personality are somewhat ironic. His personality symbolizes rebellion, exuberance, and boldness, but he wears torn, tattered, and frayed clothing. Something that symbolizes the spirit of Paul is the red carnation that he wears in the buttonhole, along with the opal pin. Paul’s dissatisfaction with his own life leads him to creating his own rich fantasy life, which isolates him and makes him stand out, just like the flower he wears. Working at Carnegie Hall as an usher gives Paul an escape from his boring life on Cordelia Street. He also gets to spend time with his friend, Charley Edwards. When Paul goes to Carnegie Hall to listen to a concert, Cather states that when the symphony began, “Paul sank into one of the rear seats with a long sigh of relief, and lost himself,” and after the concert, Paul was “often irritable and wretched.” This diction alludes to something like a drug addiction, showing how much Paul really depends on music and the arts in his…show more content…
Like George Washington, Paul strives to ‘achieve the American Dream, to start from nothing and to become something big. It is George Washington who is the face on the dollar bill, symbolizing the significance of materialism in Paul’s world. The painting of John Calvin symbolizes the theory of “predestination,” and the “paradox of free will,” relating to Paul’s acting of his own free will, as he constantly does throughout the story. Paul decides that, on his own, he wants to leave his life of mediocrity on Cordelia Street to be able to live a life “becoming a part of the “fairy tale world of a Christmas

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