Paul's Case

755 Words4 Pages
Paul’s Case The short story Paul’s Case by Willa Cather, is about a boy named Paul that is a troublesome teenager trying to find himself. As the story opens he is at a meeting with the school’s faculty and the school’s principal, over the discussion of Paul being suspended from school a week ago. The faculty members have a hard time understanding Paul but at the same time feel for Paul and want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Paul works as an usher where he loses himself at work with his obsession over art and theatre. “When the symphony began, Paul sank into one of the rear seats with a long sigh of relief, and lost himself as he had done before the Rico” (81). Paul is not able to face his father with his love of art because he is afraid he will look down on him because of it. Paul tells outrageous lies to people at school about his friendships, to try and fit in and not feel alone. His effort to seem better than his classmates and teachers alienates him even more from them. Paul dreams of the glamourous world of the rich and famous. Paul has been planning an escape trip to New York for a while to try and find his fame. To get there he steals $1,000 in cash from his work to fund his trip. After a week in New York he finds out that his theft has been discovered and that his father is headed to New York to come find him. In the end he goes to a set of railroad tracks and leaps in front of an oncoming train. Paul’s compulsive lying, need for a rich glamourous life, and his need for superiority and attention lead him to his self-destruction. Paul’s need to live a life superior to others leads him to hate the life that he lives and everyone in it. Paul and his family are not wealthy but are middle class people. He often described his neighborhood with anger and disgust as he hated it. “Paul never went up Cordelia Street without a shudder of loathing” (83).
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