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Plot and Character in Fiction Assignment

A. The Soldier’s Chorus, as mentioned in the story, pertains the manner in which Faust has been received during its opening night. Specifically, while Faust is considered to be not necessarily successful in terms of audience reception, the Soldier’s Chorus is a distinct exception which is regarded as a masterpiece (Fisher 19). In this sense, it might be possible that the use of the aforementioned piece from Faust, which Paul whistled after being summoned and questioned by a panel of instructors, may be a form of success amidst a generally negative outcome.

For his instructors, the ordeal became a reason for becoming guilty and rather uneasy, while for Paul it did not have such depressing repercussions. B. It is noted in the story that “Paul never went up Cordelia Street without a shudder of loathing” (Cather). Thus, from such a line, it would be possible to assume that Cordelia is representative of what Paul is not. To further explain, in Shakespeare’s King Lear, Cordelia is a character who embodies truthfulness and one who does not use words in a conniving manner; interestingly though, it is from such characteristics that Cordelia suffered a considerably, leading to her death (n. a. xiv).

Even at the beginning of the story, the untruthful nature of Paul has already been emphasized through the manner in which his Drawing Instructor provided some information regarding Paul. Specifically, the Drawing Instructor stated that “I don’t really believe that smile of his comes altogether from insolence” (Cather). Such a line provides an insight into the real nature and thoughts of Paul which are undeniably unknown to most individuals. Thus, unlike Cordelia which makes a firm decision to continuously adhere to the truth, Paul on the other hand passes through ordeals through a masterful manipulation of his movements and thoughts.

C. Horatio Alger’s The Cash Boy is a story of success as acquired through a series of difficult events or challenges; in short, the abovementioned story is one that highlights the usual theme of perseverance to achieve an outcome of considerable worth (Alger 2). The line in the story which pertains to The Cash Boy, specifically its essence or theme, is as follows: “He was interested in the triumphs of these cash boys who had become famous, though he had no mind for the cash-boy stage” (Cather).

In this sense, while Paul wanted to attain rewards similar to the main character of the aforesaid story, which is most evidently in the form of wealth and status, he did not perceive partaking in life’s challenges to be a worthwhile endeavor. Suddenly achieving wealth without exerting the appropriate effort for acquiring such a reward was among the main thoughts in Paul’s mind. Therefore, the line clearly is indicative of Paul’s reluctance to reach for his dreams while at the same time highlights the grandeur of Paul’s aspirations. D.

In Intimations on Immortality, it is specifically noted that “our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting” (Wordsworth). In this sense, from such a line, one would be able to understand that one’s life while being born is quite impossible to remember regardless of the relevance of such an event. In this sense, birth as being considered as such may be analogous to the locations favored by Paul as noted in the following line: “it was at the theater and at Carnegie Hall that Paul really lived; the rest was but a sleep and a forgetting” (Cather).

From such, it may be assumed that while still young, Paul is no longer living in a manner appropriate or expected from his age. As the locations that he favors denote maturity if not the pursuit for knowledge and sophisticated appreciation, it becomes evident that Paul is definitely no longer young at heart but instead is more mature than one may expect. Similarly, given that Paul realizes the necessity of lying, it is highlighted that Paul is no longer clueless or naive as one who has just been born, or one who is still a child, but is already well accustomed to the complexities and harshness of life.

E. While there are different colors of carnations, it is generally known that pink and red variants are most common. In the case of the story however, the red colored carnation has been selected to represent Paul in a symbolic manner. To further expound, the red color is associated with fire or the fervor in which an individual accomplishes his or her actions (Gage 23). Thus, it may be said that the color of the carnations represents Paul’s spirit or his willingness to go through life.

To further expound, throughout the story, the image of the carnation presented underwent a transition from being noticeable and bright during the initial parts while eventually assuming a colorless and wilted appearance. Therefore, it may be concluded that the carnations, both in terms of its form and color, are reflective of Paul; initially masterfully lying to his instructors to rid himself of potential problems until eventually realizing that he cannot accept a fate of defeat as well as monotony and thus killed himself.

F. The line “Paul dropped back into the immense design of things” is truly perplexing (Cather). However, its meaning is not necessarily difficult to discover and realize. From the beginning of the story until near its end, the attempts of Paul to embody a distinct sense of uniqueness as fuel by his own mind and aspirations is thoroughly delineated. However, with such characteristics and perspectives, Paul was no longer part of the society that he lived in.

Basically, as Paul pursued his own goals and evaded concerns through his distinct personality and means of thinking, it became apparent to Paul that his attempts at uniqueness may no longer continue. While his death may denote that Paul escaped the undesirable fate of returning to a normal life, in reality his death further proved that being normal is a rule or a cycle in society which cannot be broken; compliance cannot be violated. Works Cited Alger, Horatio. The Cash Boy. New York, NY: Kessigner Publishing, 2004.

Print. Cather, Willia. Paul’s Case. Sam Houston State University, n. d. Web. 2 May 2010. Fisher, Burton D. Faust: Opera Journeys. Boca Raton, FL: Opera Journeys, 2000. Print. Gage, John. Color and Meaning: Art, Science, and Symbolism. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 1999. Print. N. A. Shakespeare Made Easy: King Lear. Portland, ME: Walch Publishing, 2004. Print. Wordsworth, William. Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood. Academy of American Poets, 2010. Web. 2 May 2010.

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