Tragic Suicide In Paul's Case By Willa Cather

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Paul’s Case is a short story by Willa Cather wrote in 1904 and first published in 1905. In the story of Paul’s Case, we learn that he is an eccentric young man who feels like he does not fit in with his community. Paul resorts to brilliant lies; lives vicariously through theater, art, and music to escape from the cold clutches of his reality. In the following paragraphs, I will be discussing the elements of Paul’s life that ultimately lead to his tragic suicide. The story opens up with Paul entering the principal’s office. Paul’s age is never directly stated, however, based on the author’s words “Older boys than Paul had broken down and she tears …” tells me that he is probably about 15 years old. He is described as “Tall for his age and…show more content…
Paul felt the need to lie compulsively. During his meeting in the principal’s office he was asked to state why he was there, his response was that he wanted to come back to school, “This was a lie, but Paul was quite accustomed to lying; found it, indeed, indispensable for overcoming friction”, (Cather, 245). Thus, Paul used his lies to make him feel more comfortable in situations that were vexing. Paul’s speech and his mannerisms were not appreciated by his classmates, and his teachers; his teachers expressed this by “falling upon him without mercy”, during his meeting in the principal’s office. The students showed this by becoming “listless” during his stories. His tone and words were always picked with sarcastic criticism, too; for example, “I don’t mean to be polite or impolite, either. I guess it’s a sort of way I have, of saying things regardless.” (Cather, 245). I think Paul used this to separate himself from the rest of the dull crowd around him. Paul hated his surroundings, he felt so disgusted by it all that he presented himself in the most obnoxious way; hoping that some day those around him would grow to appreciate his distinct
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