Writing essays: the new perspective of Cather’s story, the case of Paul
When looking at 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.” So, unsurprisingly, the length of the story provides plenty of opportunity for richness of detail and some slack involving the use of the strong old view value statement and the inversion of the new view at the end of the story. history. When you write your essay on the story, keep that in mind.
The good news: Despite all that rich detail, the clarity of the new center view in Paul’s case he still finds a way to make this long and richly detailed story understandable.
Step 1: At the beginning of a short story, the main character makes or refers to a strong statement of value, an ancient vision.
As the story begins, Paul is in a meeting with his school’s principal and several of his teachers, being interviewed to see if he should be allowed to come out of his suspension and return to school.When the principal asked him why he was there, Paul said, quite politely, that he wanted to go back to school. This was a lie, but Paul was quite accused of lying; he found it, in fact, indispensable to overcome the 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 also did not like the idea, formed a ring of torturers about Paul while they were interviewing him, peppering him with hostile questions.
The narrator expresses his negative evaluation and attitude towards Paul in a strong values statement:
Their teachers…[stated] their respective charges… with such grudge and grievance… this was not a common 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 frivolous 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 his comes entirely from insolence; there’s something haunted about it. There’s something wrong with the guy.
Up to this point, we have several strong value statements about Paul, seen through the eyes of his teachers and the principal. We have been told that
Paul was quite used to lying and he needed it to get past the friction.
Paul’s was not a usual case.
Paul has a kind of hysterically defiant and dismissive attitude.
Paul’s whole attitude was symbolized by his shrug and his extravagant red carnation.
There is something wrong with Pablo.
And now we’ve acquired two solid parts of the old vision’s strong value statement:
…not a usual case…something is wrong with the guy.
The final part of the strong value statement from the previous vision doesn’t occur until the middle section of the story. (Speaking of slack in using the old view-new view relationship!)
When Paul was kicked out of 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 of Paul’s many creative stories involving them, and their assessment meets the final part of the old vision’s strong value statement: They agreed with the faculty and with his father that Paul’s case was bad.
Now we can see all the parts of the strong value statement:
This was not a usual case.
There is something wrong with Pablo.
Paul’s was a bad case.
And since that ties in nicely with the title of the story, on the old point of view I rest my — errr, 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 shape the new view at the end.
DESCRIPTION: A description plays an important role in supporting the old view. Paul lived on Cordelia Street, and after the late-night concerts, Paul never walked up Cordelia Street without a shudder of disgust. He approached it with the hopeless feeling of defeat, the hopeless feeling of sinking forever into the ugliness and vulgarity he’d always had when he came home. He experienced all the physical depression that follows an orgy; the disgust of respectable beds, of common food, of a house permeated by the smells of cooking.
The description and the name of the street do not match. Cordelia is the name of the rejected daughter in Shakespeare’s play, “King Lear.” Paul clearly feels rejected by her father, as Cordelia does by hers. And Paul, in turn, rejects the poverty of his home, the simplicity of his life, and the boredom 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 point of view as Paul deals with his father’s anger and rejection by constantly lying to him about why he’s home late, where he’s been, or where he’s 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 youth leader of the permanent stock company that performed in one of the theaters downtown. So Paul resolved his conflicts by lying, stepping out of reality, and associating with people who live the unreal and exotic life of art, music, and theater: Things got worse and worse with Paul at school. In an eagerness to let his instructors know how much he despised them and his homilies, and how much he was appreciated elsewhere, he mentioned once or twice that he had no time to waste time on theorems; adding, with a movement of the eyebrows and a touch of that nervous bravado which so perplexed them, that he was helping the people of the joint-stock company; they were old friends of his.
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 internally resisted the situation.
RESOLUTION: With his fantasy real life closed to him, Paul resolves their conflict by lying (as usual, out of reality) about a deposit he was supposed to make to his employer, stealing about $3,000. And he went to New York to live the life of the gloriously rich. In those days, three thousand dollars went a long way.
Step 3. At the end of a short story, a new reverse vision of the old one is usually revealed.
At the end of the story, Paul has gone to New York, where he is surrounded by many people, a kind of a fan ring who gives respect, contrary to the ring of torturers at the beginning of the story, though respect at the end is based on his fake and stolen wealth. And Paul plays the new role of him by showing his own respect to everyone in New York at the end, the complete opposite of how he had been treating others lightly at the beginning of the story.
The title, “The Case of Paul”, 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 never 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 belonging.
In reality, it is not unusual for a youngster to have such problems while growing up. In Paul’s case, however, it was it is not a usual case — it was more than that, it was a bad box. But the ending reveals that Paul box it was far worse than just bad: it was deadly, it was fatal, as it ended in Paul’s suicide. So we see that the end of the story emphasizes a Drastic expansion of the previous view. to a new view that you are adding, not just inverting, showing that the box it was much more serious and much more dangerous or bad than anyone had realized 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 rich, if only for a short time, no. just fantasize it. That investment is what counted most, at least, from Paul’s point of view.
Whether you choose in your essay to emphasize the reversal of Paul’s new vision of the situation or the reversal of his teachers, his father, and others at the end, our analysis of the core of the new vision provides the lens through which we can clearly see all the details to the new investment view and enlargement at the end.