The Story of Faust and Willa Cather's "Paul's Case" The story of Faust has been told in many forms and many media. The original legend of Faust dates back to Sixteenth Century Germany. In the story, Dr. Faustus is an esteemed and respected intellectual and scholar, who has become bored with his life and listless. To remedy his ennui Dr. Faustus makes a bargain with the devil, who is called Mephistopheles in many versions of the legend. In exchange for twenty-four years of supernatural powers, worldly pleasures, and limitless knowledge, Dr. Faustus sells his immortal soul to the devil and agrees to eternal damnation. In most versions of the story, Dr. Faustus uses his newfound powers to seduce an innocent and virginal girl, Gretchen, and is...The end:
.....ment. Someone as frivolous and distracted as Paul is to some extent a creation of post-industrial America. As the Iron Kings generated enough well to create the largest income disparity the world had ever known, the difference between the opulence and grandeur of New York and Carnegie Hall as compared to what people like Paul could reasonably afford was stark. Cather may thus be making a social commentary on the system that brought Paul into being, fueled his vain and idle fantasies, and eventually skewed his priorities so horribly that he chose to take his own life. Works Cited Cather, Willa. “Paul's Case.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. (11th ed). Eds. X.J. Kennedy, Dana Gioia. New York: Longman, 2009.