Yellow can be associated with many things, including disease and ugliness. In “Pall’s Case”, when contemplating returning home, he despises the thought of returning to his room which was coated in “horrible yellow wallpaper” (126). Even as he approaches it, he is filled with “a nerveless sense of defeat, the hopeless feeling of sinking back forever into ugliness and commonness that he had always had when he came home” (127). Paul sees himself as above his living situation and the yellow reveals how he feels when going home or having to endure living In such remedial, common, conditions.
When thinking of returning to his room, he recalls the “ugly sleeping chamber, cold bathroom with the grimy zinc tub, the cracked mirror, and the dripping spigots” before ultimately deciding he would rather spend the night in the cellar before he would return there. The yellow wallpaper, in conjunction with the description of his room, describes in large his feelings about the society he lives in, which he shudders in repulsion at the mere thought of.
The effect of these feelings and emotions are so overwhelming and overpowering that, once he realizes that the hold of his society on his life Is inescapable and the “disease” of their every-day existence will catch up with him, he chooses instead to end his own life. Paul is often seen as a dreamer, his thoughts always drifting and imagining deferent scenarios. His dreams and longings create such dissatisfaction for his situation that he becomes a chronic liar, creating an image for himself that would break the average monotony of the other children’s lives.
For him, nothing could be as bad as having the other students think that he was Like them, or he took scholastics or teachers seriously. When he finally Is able to be In his own element, the catharsis brought on by his escape is unlike any other. The quote “the mere release from the necessity of petty lying, lying every day and every day, restored his self-respect” (132) shows Just how necessary it was for him and how much he had relied on it.
The color blue is used to represent his dreams and his passion for escape. This is seen as he loses himself to the “blue Rice” (125) or is exhilarated by “Referral’s gay studies of Paris streets and an airy blue Venetian cane” (125) as he wanders the art gallery of Carnegie Hall. Pall’s dream world allows him to place himself in other worlds where he can live out the lifestyles of his choosing as he fantasized about the opera, romance, and the finer things that do not exist in his own life.
He even has “his secret temple, his wishing-carpet, his bit of blue and white Mediterranean shore bathed in perpetual sunshine” (129) and his desire to escape and live out his dream is expressed when he listens to the music and wellness to “De Carlen out, Delude league rater Delude league, away Trot every deed carnation he wears in his coat when he appears at the meeting between him and the teachers is the first display of his rebellious spirit.
The red seen here and throughout the entire story symbolizes his revolt to those beneath him and the society he lives in and how he wishes to perceive himself. He wants to be strong, confident, and superior them those who he is constantly surrounded with. This sentiment is portrayed when Catcher states that his greediness lay in “his cigarettes and his sense of power”. The teachers associate the flippant red carnation as a cocker and “scandalous” as they feel that it “was not properly significant of the contrite spirit befitting a boy under the ban of suspension”.
However, he wears it anyways in an effort to express his contempt and defiance to a society with middle- class values and lack of beauty as he considered it to be a place occupied by “sickening men, with combings of children’s hair always clinging to their coats, and the smell of cooking in their clothes”. This is further demonstrated by the red robe that he buys with the stolen money during his escape to the city and upper-class life s he has finally defied society and its claim on his life.
However, this defiance fades when he realizes that the beauty he longs for is ultimately unattainable and he will eventually have to return to Cornelia Street. This is shown by the wilting of the red carnations in his coat as towards the end they are “drooping, their red glory over” and Just as they fade, so does he as he decides to commit suicide rather than return home. The color black is used to express Pall’s despair and the darkness of the situation he is confined to. When he is standing outside his house on Cornelia Street