When Dreams Come True
Few people, even in today's world, are truly open-minded to the differences of others. They decide at an early age what, they believe, is the right way to live. But what happens when a truly unique boy is brought up in an environment where he is forced to believe he only has one option in life? "Paul's Case" by Willa Cather is a short story beautifully illustrating a young boy fighting to hold on to his identity in a town where his dreams are looked down upon and criticized. His struggle is displayed through characterization, setting, and symbolism.
Characterization sets the stage for the beginning of Paul's fatal battle. Paul is described as being different from what most consider a normal boy. A stereotypical boy likes to roll in the mud, ride bicycles, play with toy soldiers, and even participate in rough sports. Paul was quite the opposite. He had a deep appreciation of the fine arts, which is incredibly rare among adolescents. Before work, he went to visit the art gallery. He was not ashamed to go yet "was delighted to find no one in the gallery but the old guard (491)." An empty art gallery was his pass to enjoy and absorb the art with no distractions. The majority of school age children dread work and would much rather spend their time doing something of choice. Again, Paul challenged the norm. His job at Carnegie Hall was his only true joy and he looked forward to going as much as possible. Previously seen by teachers and the town's elders as disrespectful and even "haunted (491)," at work "he was a model usher (492)" and "all the people in his section thought him a charming boy, feeling that he remembered and admired them (492)." Work was where he was free to allow his true self surface without ridicule and therefore led to a complete change in attitude. The atmosphere of the Hall alone was enough to bring color "to his cheeks and lips (492)." The music he dearly respected "seemed to free some hilarious and...
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