The Rise and Fall of Paul

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The Rise and Fall of Paul Paul’s Case by Willa Cather is a tragic story of a young man who struggles with the fantasies of living a luxurious life while being trapped in a lower class lifestyle. His obsession with theatre and art plague his study habits and his work ethic in the class room. After school Paul works as an usher at Carnegie Hall, which feeds his obsession even more. When his dad is informed of Paul’s continual failing grades, he is forced to send Paul out into the work force to prove a point. After Paul is given a duty to make a deposit for his employer for 2,000 dollars, he faces temptation of a lifetime to flee all his problems, and experience the life of an upper class citizen. Paul was raised by his father, and did not have a female figure in his life to guide and care for him. In turn, he struggles in school and does not take his authority figures seriously, while always disrupting class. His teachers sensed something troubling about Paul. “I don’t really believe that smile of his comes altogether from insolence; there’s something sort of haunted about it. The boy is not strong for one thing. There is something wrong about the fellow.”(Perrine 261) After school is when Paul can be himself. He is in love with theatre and is intoxicated with the atmosphere. One night while finishing up dinner he asks permission to go study geometry with a class mate, but Paul has no intent of bettering his geometry skills. Instead, he secretly goes off to the theatre dressing room to assist Charley Edwards who cannot afford a dresser. “It was at the theatre and at Carnegie Hall that Paul really lived; the rest was but a sleep and a forgetting.”(268) After Paul is expelled from school and forced to work by his father, he desperately plots a way to liberate himself and flee to New York. One day Paul is sent to make a deposit for his employers, but instead of

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