Paul's Alienation

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The short story ‘Paul’s Case’ written by Willa Cather shows the story in the life of a young boy who expresses his individuality. The story demonstrates the conflict between conformity and individuality towards a young teenager fighting for what he believes in because of his one and only imagination, and uniqueness. Paul’s Case deals with the inescapability of the everyday life. Paul also deals with internal conflict when one see’s that the only grasp of air that Paul is able to fulfill is from his hero; the theatre. The beginning of the story highlights Paul’s uniqueness when the author gives the reader a very precise description about him précising on his eyes being, “remarkable for a certain hysterical brilliancy, and he continually used them in a conscious, theatrical sort of way...but there was a glassy glitter about them which that drug does not produce”(Pg . 1). The glitter in the young boy’s eyes shows that he is different than the usual teenage boy, that he has something in his eyes that others do not, and this is the dream of wanting to do something with his life. The author uses symbolism to portray his personality; his attitude is “symbolized by his shrug and his flippantly red carnation flower”, whereas the flowers mirror what he would want to be, living in color, happiness and luxury (Pg.1). However the conformity of a middle-class teenager is not to dream about living in luxury of some sort, it is to play soccer, and do homework like the stereotypes. This conflicts with the Paul’s individuality in contrast to his school friends. The reader notices this contrast when Paul compares the kids from his school to the houses on Cordelia Street being “...exactly alike as their homes”, and stereotyping the children “all of whom went to Sabbath school and learned the shorter catechism, and were interested in arithmetic” (Pg. 4). The fact that Paul always
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