The short story “Paul’s Case” by Willa Cather deals with the life and death of a boy who fancies a good and well recognized life, though it is not pragmatic in the circumstances he actually lives in. Paul chooses to die rather than return home because he anticipates that…
Cather’s major massage in “Paul’s Case” is a boy’s great and unreasonable desire of splendid lives and its consequences.
The author depicts several occasions that reveal Paul’s emotional fulfillment when he is engaged in the theatre setting. Cather shows the conflict between two places. Paul’s house is a place where he remains devastated, and the theater is a place where he gets satisfaction in life. Cather mentions, “After a concert was over Paul was always irritable and wretched until he got to sleep,” and reflects on the “ugliness and commonness that he had always had when he came home.” Home is not a cozy, comfortable and safe place to Paul. He does not even relate to his neighbors. However the author points out the happiness of Paul while working at the theatre "as though it were his greatest pleasure in life." Cather adds: “This was Paul’s fairy tale, and it had for him all the allurement of a secret love.” Paul is very excited, energetic and alive when he is working in the theater. He is more than happy with guiding dressed people and seeing musicians. Paul visualizes real life at the theatre which is furnished with garish satins, diamonds and rhinestones. Paul views the setting of the theatre and the setting of his home and school to be at different extremes of the pleasant and unpleasant.
Cather depicts Paul as being obsessive of living in the style and manner which he dreamt of, rather than working hard to pursue the career of an artist and then enjoy life in accordance with his dreams. Paul actually finds a shortcut to fulfill his dreams by stealing money from his employer. When he reaches New York, he starts buying things, such as a street coat, hat, shoes, silver brushes, dress shirts and a scarf pin. He also rides in carriage, drinks champagne and dines to the background of a string orchestra. Cather states, “Everything was quite perfect; he was exactly the kind of boy he had always wanted to be.” The boy has ...
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