Paul in Willa Cather’s Short Story “Paul’s Case”


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Essay #: 057335
Total text length is 4,203 characters (approximately 2.9 pages).

Excerpts from the Paper

The beginning:
Paul in Willa Cather’s Short Story “Paul’s Case”
To what extent is the protagonist of the story you’re chosen responsible for the conflict or predicament he or she faces?
Willa Cather’s short story “Paul’s Case” tells the story of a schoolboy, Paul, in a predicament so terrible that he eventually resolves it by committing suicide. The story deals with a short period of time in the life of a boy in Pittsburgh who suffers from profound isolation and alienation. As this essay will show, the boy is not responsible for his predicament: while it is the result of his unique temperament, the point is that unusual children in difficult situations, who are not offered any support from the parents or teachers who should detect their malaise, cannot...
The end:
..... react by attacking him. They are vindictive toward him, and they know it:
His teachers left the building dissatisfied and unhappy; humiliated to have felt so vindictive toward a mere boy … Some of them remembered having seen a miserable street cat set at bay by a ring of tormentors. (Cather 10).
This is the point – Paul is indeed a mere boy. Moreover, he is a deeply troubled mere boy. He is not responsible for his predicament. However, his father and his teachers are culpable for ignoring his distress, and even adding to it. It is concluded that Paul is not responsible for his predicament – instead, the responsibility lies with the adults who inadvertently but culpably spur him on towards suicide.
Cather, Willa. “Paul’s Case.”