Paul's Case Imagery

Paul's Case Imagery


Paul was really careful about his appearance. He seemed to be always “suave and smiling,” his clothes were “a trifle outgrown,” and “the tan velvet of his collar of his open overcoat was frayed and worn.” For all that “there was something of the dandy about him,” and “he wore an opal pin in his neatly knotted black four-inhand,” and “a red carnation in his buttonhole.” No one in the whole school put so much effort in the way he or she looked. This imagery evokes a feeling of slight confusion, since the boy is dressed too festively for school.


Paul wasn’t interested in classes and spent the whole day dreaming about leaving school. However, he seemed to be a completely different person in Carnegie Hall. His favorite place was “the ushers’ dressing room.” According to him, there was something special about “the tight straight coat” and the way it “accentuated his narrator chest.” He was always “considerably excited while he dressed, twanging all over to the turning of the strings and the preliminary flourishes of the horns in the music room.” This imagery helps to understand that special atmosphere that reigns in Carnegie Hall.

The dream

Paul was standing in front of the hotel as if he was mesmerized. “Behind the swinging glass doors that were opened by a Negro in a tall hat and a long coat” was hidden the world he dreamt about. In the moment that the door was “ajar” it seemed to Paul that he, too, “entered.” It seemed to him that he was going up “the steps, into the warm, lighted building” into “an exotic, tropical world of shiny, glistening surfaces and basking ease.” Then “a quick gust of wind brought the rain down with sudden vehemence,” and Paul “was startled to find that he was still outside.” This imagery evokes a feeling of emptiness.

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