Paul's Case Literary Elements

Paul's Case Literary Elements


A short story

Setting and Context

The events of the story take place in Pittsburgh and New York in the beginning of the 20th century.

Narrator and Point of View

The story is told from the third-person point of view by an omniscient narrator.

Tone and Mood

The tone is emotionless and concentrated. The mood is somber.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Paul is the protagonist of the story. The dullness of everyday existence as embodied in a society that doesn’t care about beauty is the antagonist of the story.

Major Conflict

The major conflict is person vs. society. Paul doesn’t want to live according the ideas of his family and its surroundings.


The moment when Paul finds out that his father is on his way to New York and that he knows about the money the boy stole is the climax of the story.


It was Paul’s afternoon to appear before the faculty of the Pittsburgh High School to account for his various misdemeanors.
This quotes shows that Paul has a lot of problems with the school stuff and his family. Later on, the readers will the reason of it.


Suppose his father had heard him getting in at the window and had come down and shot him for a burglar? Then, again, suppose his father had come down, pistol in hand, and he had cried out in time to save himself, and his father had been horrified to think how nearly he had killed him? Then, again, suppose a day should come when his father would remember that night, and whish there had been no warning cry to stay his hand?

For Paul, death is like a game.


The story alludes to Carnegie Hall, George Washington and Faust.


There is an imagery of Cordelia Street, the place that Paul considers the ugliest, the dullest and hopeless.


And he felt a good deal more manly, more honest, even, now that he had no need for boastful pretentions.

Paul had stolen money and started feeling for honest.



Metonymy and Synecdoche

But the floor above him was silent. (The floor is synecdoche that represent the occupants who live there.)


It was a highly respectable street.

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