Paul’s Case

by

Willa Cather

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Red Carnations

Even as Paul sheds his shabby overcoat for a much smarter usher’s uniform, and—once in New York—for a much more expensive dress coat, one aspect of his costume remains the same: the red carnation that…

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Cordelia Street

In Pittsburgh, Paul lives with his father and sisters on Cordelia Street, part of a middle-class neighborhood some distance from downtown. On Cordelia Street, the houses all look the same and contain the same kind…

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Yellow Wallpaper

If the red carnations give Paul a chance to express himself and to take solace in beauty, the yellow wallpaper coating his room has the opposite function. Its drab, dull quality reminds Paul of the…

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Windows

Paul spends much of the story gazing longingly through windows, from the swinging glass doors of the Schenley hotel where the Carnegie Hall soloist is staying, to the storefront windows in Manhattan that Paul zooms…

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Purple

Cather uses the color purple, much like she uses the red carnations, to represent Paul’s flamboyant dandyism and his queerness. Apart from the fact that the color purple has historically been associated with homosexuality…

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