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Paul: Meaning of Life and Cordelia Street Essay

A) FAUST (P. 493) –KENNEDY TELLS US ONLY THAT IT IS A “TRAGIC GRAND OPERA. ” EXPAND ON HIS NOTE. WHAT IS FAUST NOTED FOR? IN WHAT OTHER FORMS DOES THE STORY APPEAR? Faust was a man who was not happy with its own life and who essentially was willing to sell his soul for more. He wants a grand life filled with glamour, although also a man who has attempted suicide. It is the story of a man willing to ultimately, and symbolically, sells his soul to the devil for what he desires (“Paul’s Case”). “Faust” comes to be a metaphor of Paul’s life, Paul is a lad that resembles Faust.

He thinks his current life is filled with ugliness and commonness, he desires to have a life of grandeur and luxury, he is so fanciful where always imagining those finest things are happening on him. Finally he “accomplished” his dream; he stole $1000 from Denny & Carson’s for his trip to New York, the place he always wants to go. However, as the theft has been made public and he doesn’t want to go back to Cordelia, so he kills himself by jumping onto a railway track. In my opinion, this is an allusion.

The reason why Cather mentioned Faust in the early paragraphs is because starting from that point, Paul is going to become the other Faust, which will do anything for what he desires. B) “CORDELIA STREET” (496) –WHO WAS CORDELIA? WHAT DOES HER SAD LIFE SYMBOLIZE THAT MIGHT BE IMPORTANT IN CATHER’S STORY? Cordelia is the daughter of Shakespeare’s King Lear, she always remain honest and true, she refused to flatter his father just so she would get an inheritance, finally she was banished by Lear with given nothing (“Paul Case”).

Cordelia is a symbol of Paul’s stubborn, the stubborn that how he fights for his dream, although in an improper way. Paul doesn’t want to pretend happy, he expresses his thinking out bravely, doesn’t care the consequences and other’s thoughts, which is similar to Cordelia. C) “HE HAD NO MIND FOR THE CASH BOY STAGE” (497) –HINT: LOOK UP HORATIO ALGER. Horatio Alger, Jr. was a 19th-century American author. Many of his works have been described as rags to riches stories, illustrating how down-and-out boys might be able to achieve the American Dream of wealth and success through hard work, courage, determination, and concern for others.

(“Wikipedia-Horatio”). “The Cash Boy”, one of his works, narrating the protagonist succeeded after living in the gutters of cities. Combining them together, we can say that the meaning of that quote is Paul doesn’t want to go through the cash boy stage, as the stage must be full with pains and toil. However, he was interested in the triumphs of these cash boys who had become famous (497). Which means he just wants to is skip all those toiling steps and jumps into the luxury life directly.

D) “IT WAS AT THE THEATRE AND AT CARNEGIE HALL THAT PAUL REALLY LIVED; THE REST WAS _BUT A_ _SLEEP AND A FORGETTING_. ” (498) –THE LAST PART OF THIS QUOTATION (IN ITALICS) IS A SNEAKY REFERENCE TO A POEM BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, CALLED “INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY. ” LOOK UP THIS POEM AND DETERMINE WHAT WORDSWORTH SAYS ABOUT THE VARIOUS STAGES OF LIFE. HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO PAUL’S STORY? In Intimations of Immortality, Wordsworth says, for our souls originate in a purer, more glorious realm, heaven itself.

Children retain some memory of paradise, which glorifies their experiences on earth, but youths begin to lose it, and adults, distracted by earthly concerns, entirely forget it (“Wikipedia-Intimations”). Carnegie Hall is a simile of Paul’s paradise; a place where he thinks he belongs to, and the only place he feels comfortable to stay in Cordelia Street. The only thing in his mind was his desire of luxury life and his passionate about arts. Other than that, was but a sleep and a forgetting.

However, when he grows older, he may understand that everything was just a pipe dream, he will feel how stubborn he was before. Cather tries to tell out that having a dream wasn’t bad, but you have to act according to one’s ability, if not, you will become another Paul, the one who is so foolish that suicide because of his pigheaded in the fascination of those glamorous thing. E) CARNATIONS (490; 504) Carnation, Red Meaning: Alas for my poor heart, admiration, my heart aches for you, pride, and fascination (“Meaning Of Flowers”).

Carnation in the story has an allusion to Paul’s fragility, his craving for beauty and his inability to thrive in environment, which also has a big contrast to Paul drab’s surroundings (“Paul Case-2”). Cather introduced the carnation at the first paragraph, it impressed me as the contrast between the adornment and Paul’s outwear. In my point of view, the carnation has a meaning of dignity and also the strong passion that longs for luxury from Paul. Later, the carnations in his coat were drooping with the cold, he noticed, their red glory all over (504).

From here, we can see how the carnations metaphors the thinking of Paul, it is telling us that everything is over; he is going to give up his dream and suicide at last. F) “PAUL DROPPED BACK INTO THE IMMENSE DESIGN OF THINGS” (505) –WHAT??? PAUL WAS A REBEL. WHAT WOULD HE THINK OF BEING PART OF A DESIGN? WHICH DESIGN? DOES THIS ENDING SENTENCE SAY ANYTHING ABOUT PAUL’S ESCAPE FROM HIS PITTSBURGH LIFE? This sentence ends Paul’s dream, He was not meant to be of that higher social class, and it is not his world.

He is just exactly like the people who he despises; he has ended his life before doing anything of significance and is just the same as the others (E-notes). Paul’s suicide does not help to escape from his Pittsburgh life, he is still the lad he was. Part of the design should be his imagination of life before, the reason he dropped back is because he died already, everything was over, he feels regretful of his impulse but there’s nothing else he can do now, just like everything goes back to the starting point.

_BIBLIOGRAPHY_ LITERATURE: AN INTRODUCTION TO FICTION, POETRY, AND DRAMA — X. J. KENNEDY AND DANA GIOIA, EDS. LONGMAN, 11TH EDITION, 2009. ‘ “PAUL’S CASE BY WILLA CATHER. ” WRITE MY ESSAY. 5 AUG. 2009 “PAUL CASE-2. ” TCCAMPA. 17 FEB. 2009 “MEANING OF FLOWERS. ” SHERI & BOB STRITOF. “WIKIPEDIA – INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY. ” 2 MARCH. 2010 “WIKIPEDIA – HORATIO ALGER JR. ” 24 FEB. 2010 < http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Horatio_Alger,_Jr. > SULLYMONSTER, KRANDOG. “E-NOTES, PAUL CASE. ” ONLINE POSTING. 12 DEC. 2009.


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