Interesting! My take has always been that it accentuates the presence of the color red in the story, which culminates in the image of the carnations in the snow. Suspicious indeed, perhaps to those neighbors, in their mundane snickering about prostitution, but for readers, too, as Cather foreshadows the blood that will spill from Paul in his tragic end. We are to be suspicious of the color red throughout the story.
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.
Director, Cather Project
Department of English
337D Andrews Hall
Lincoln, NE 68588-0333
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.
The English Department