Setting In The Short Story Paul's Case

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Setting plays a significant component in all stories. It can affect the characters in a way that other components cannot. In the short story “Paul’s Case” the author, Willa Cather uses a small town located in Pittsburgh as the main setting. She goes into great detail about how the environment affects Paul and how he wants to get away from Cordelia Street. Later in the story, Paul travels to New York City and lives the glamorous life he has always wanted. Carnegie Hall, Cordelia Street, school, and New York City are some of the places that are in this short story: but these settings are very significant to the story. Paul has the motivation to travel to New York City to get away from his common life in Pittsburgh, which helps move the story…show more content…
He works as an usher at Carnegie Hall where he is able to become alive. Paul transforms into a new person when he arrives in Carnegie Hall because all of the “gay colors” and prosperous people who surround him. However, one night his English teacher arrives at Carnegie Hall, which appalls Paul. He does not want a common person to come to the opulent life of the fine arts. “Paul was startled for a moment, and has the feeling of wanting to put her out; what business had she here among all these fine people and gay colors” (178). The author elaborates how his English teacher affects Paul’s mood and how it repulses Paul. When Carnegie Hall fires Paul he no longer has an escape of common life in Pittsburgh. Paul cannot tolerate this atrocious common life without his escape, which becomes the force that drives Paul to New York.
After work, Paul returns to his nightmare: Cordelia Street. Paul suffocates when he returns to his house on Cordelia Street. “Paul never went up Cordelia Street without loathing . . .the nerveless sense of defeat, the hopeless feeling of sinking back forever into ugliness and commonness that he had always had when he came home” (180). Willa Cather writes various details on how Paul hates Cordelia Street and how it affects him. This setting serves the most motivation to leave the common life of Pittsburgh to the wealthy, lively life of New York
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