Writing Essays: Cather’s New Take on the Story, Paul’s Case

In analyzing Willa Cather’s short story, “Paul’s Case,” we must remember that it is more than twice as long as Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” and more than three times as long as Joyce’s “Clay.” Thus, unsurprisingly, the length of the story offers many opportunities for the richness of detail and some ease that involves using the strong value statement of the old vision and the new inversion of the vision at the end of the story. history. When writing your essay on the story, keep it in mind.

The good news: Despite all those rich details, the clarity of the new central view in Paul’s case he still finds a way to make this long and detailed story understandable.

Step 1: At the beginning of a short story, the main character gives a strong value statement, an ancient vision.

When the story begins, Paul is in a meeting with his school principal and several of his teachers, being interviewed to see if he should be allowed to get out of suspension and return to school.When asked by the principal why he was there, Paul politely said that he wanted to go back to school. This was a lie, but Paul was quite used to lying; I found it, in fact, indispensable to overcome friction.

Paul really didn’t want to go back to school because he didn’t like or respect anyone there. The principal and teachers, who did not like the idea either, formed a ring of executioners about Paul as they interviewed him, peppering him with hostile questions.

The narrator expresses his negative evaluation and attitude towards Paul in a strong statement of value:

His teachers …[stated] their respective positions … with such rancor and grievance … this was not a usual case …

A strong, memorable and vivid symbol is also mentioned:His teachers felt this afternoon that his whole attitude was symbolized by his shrug and lightly red carnation flower.

After Paul left the meeting, having been accepted back into the school by the principal, a teacher made a second strong value statement about Paul: I really don’t think that smile of hers comes entirely from insolence; there is something haunted about him. There is something wrong with the guy.

Up to this point, we have several strong value statements about Paul, as seen through the eyes of his teachers and the principal. They have told us that

  • Paul was quite used to lying and needed it to overcome friction.

  • Paul’s was not a common case.

  • Paul has a kind of hysterically defiant and dismissive attitude.

  • Paul’s entire demeanor was symbolized by his shrug and his frivolous red carnation flower.

  • There is something wrong with Paul.

And now we have acquired two solid parts of the strong value statement from the previous vision:

… not a usual case … something wrong with the guy.

The final part of the ancient vision’s strong value statement doesn’t occur until the middle section of the story. (Talk about the fluency in using the old-view-new-view relationship!)

When Paul was expelled from school, his father put him to work as a clerk at a company called Denny and Carson’s. His father also closed Paul’s access to Carnegie Hall and the theater group. The members of the theater company were very funny when they learned about the many creative stories from Paul involving them, and their evaluation meets the final part of the strong value statement from the vision above: They agreed with the faculty and with his father that Paul’s was a bad case.

Now we can see all the parts of the strong value statement:

  • This was not a common case.

  • There is something wrong with Paul.

  • Paul’s was a bad case.

And since that fits very well with the title of the story, on the subject of the previous point of view, I rest my – err, the case of Paul.

Step 2: In the middle of a short story, the old view is supported or undermined by descriptions, conflicts, and resolutions that make up the new view at the end.

DESCRIPTION: A description plays an important role in supporting the previous point of view. Paul lived on Cordelia Street and, after nightly concerts, Paul never walked up Cordelia Street without a shiver of hatred. He approached her with the callous sense of defeat, the desperate sense of sinking forever into the ugliness and vulgarity that he had always had when he came home. He experienced all the physical depression that follows debauchery; the abhorrence of respectable beds, of common food, of a house permeated by the smells of the kitchen.

The description and the street name are not a coincidence. Cordelia is the name of the rejected daughter in Shakespeare’s play, “King Lear.” It is evident that Paul feels rejected by his father, as Cordelia by hers. And Paul, in turn, rejects the poverty of his home, the simplicity of his life and the monotony of his life at school, preferring the exotic and unreal life of art, music and theater to the harsh realities of his life. real.

CONFLICT: From various incidents, we find conflicts that support the above view when Paul deals with his father’s anger and rejection by constantly lying to him about why he is home late, where he has been or where he is going. For example, one Sunday he can’t stand his ugly house, so he tells his father that he is going to study at a friend’s house.

RESOLUTION: But instead, he’s going to hang out with his friend, Charley Edwards, the main youth of the permanent anonymous society that played in one of the theaters of the center. So Paul resolved his conflicts by lying, stepping out of reality, and associating with people who live the exotic and unreal life of art, music, and theater: Things got worse and worse with Paul at school. In eager to let his instructors know how sincerely he despised them and their homilies, and how deeply he was appreciated elsewhere, he mentioned once or twice that he had no time to fiddle with theorems; adding – with a flick of his eyebrows and a touch of that nervous bravado that so perplexed them – that he was helping the people of the corporation; they were old friends of hers.

CONFLICT: Paul was expelled from school and his father put him to work as a clerk at a company called Denny and Carson’s. His father also closed Paul’s access to Carnegie Hall and the theater group. Paul hated and resisted the situation internally.

RESOLUTION: With his real fantasy life closed to him, Paul resolves his conflict by lying (as usual, out of reality) about a deposit he was supposed to make for his employer, stealing about three thousand dollars. And he went to New York to live the life of the gloriously rich. In those days, three thousand dollars was very good.

Step 3. At the end of a short story, a new view reversed from the previous view is usually revealed.

At the end of the story, Paul has gone to New York, where he is surrounded by a lot of people, a kind of a fan ring that give you respect, the reverse of the torturers ring at the beginning of the story, although the respect at the end is based on his false and stolen wealth. And Paul plays his new role by showing his own respect for everyone in New York in the end, the complete opposite of how he had treated others levity at the beginning of the story.

The title, “The Case of Pablo”, and the use of it is not a usual case and a bad case at the beginning and in the middle, they all refer to something that has never been specifically verbalized within the story. But the meaning is shown very clearly: Paul has problems growing up, with school, with home, with identity, with finding himself, and with belonging.

Actually, it is not unusual for a young man to have such problems growing up. In Paul’s case, however, it was it is not a usual case – it was more than that, it was a bad case. But the ending reveals that Paul box it was much worse than just bad: it was deadly, it was fatal, as it ended with Paul’s suicide. So we see that the end of the story emphasizes a drastic expansion of the anterior view to a new point of view that adds, not only reverses, shows that the box it was much more serious and much more dangerous or bad than anyone had ever imagined or imagined.

On the other hand, at the beginning of the story, Paul was daydreaming his fantasies about the theater, while at the end of the story he was actually living the privileged life of the respected wealthy, if only for a short time, not simply fantasizing. . that. That change is what counts the most, at least from Pablo’s point of view.

Whether you choose in your essay to emphasize the reversal of Paul’s new view of the situation or the reversal of his teachers, his father, and others in the end, our analysis of the core of the new view provides the lens through which we can see clearly through all the details to the new investment and expansion view at the end.

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