Hi Guy,

I suspect the red glass pitcher alludes to red lights being associated with prostitution. The term 'red-light district" dates to the late nineteenth-century. Having said that, I want to be clear that I have absolutely no expertise in this area.

All best,

On Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 8:30 AM, Guy Reynolds <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hello everyone :

I’m forwarding an email from a Chinese scholar who has a question about ‘Paul’s Case’: What do you think? I have my own theories….but thought it interesting to ask.



Guy Reynolds


Director, Cather Project

Department of English

337D Andrews Hall

Lincoln, NE 68588-0333


(402) 472-1885

[log in to unmask]



From: "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 9:22 AM
To: Guy Reynolds <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: A Question about "Paul's Case" from China


Dear Professor Reynolds,

This is Helen Shou from Zhejiang University in China. I am from the English Department in our university and teach English short stories. 

When I was having a discussion on "Paul's Case" with my students, one of them asked a question about the following part, and I'm not very sure about why Willa Cather put this part in the story and why she wrote that "the girls put lemonade in a red glass pitcher and the neighbours always joked about the suspicious colour of the pitcher". 

I would really appreciate it if you could answer my email and help me to solve this problem, in that I know that you are an expert in Cather studies.

"When the weather was warm, and his father was in a particularly jovial frame of mind, the girls made lemonade, which was always brought out in a red glass pitcher, ornamented with forget-me-nots in blue enamel. This the girls thought very fine, and the neighbours always joked about the suspicious colour of the pitcher". 

Looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you very much.

Best Regards

Helen Shou

The English Department

Zhejiang University