Paul's Case A Study In Temperament Summary

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“Paul’s Case: A Study in Temperament,” written by Willa Cather, tells the story of a troubled high school teen, who is tired of the ordinariness of his middle class neighborhood. The story begins in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Paul’s teachers are discussing his disruptive behavior in the classroom to the principal. Then, Paul heads to work at Carnegie Hall, where he works there as an usher. After Paul’s father learns that he has been sneaking out to go to the theatre, Paul’s father pulls him out of school and puts him to work for Denny & Carson. Next, Paul travels to New York City for his job. In the end, Paul is wanted for theft, and ultimately commits suicide. Willa Cather very much favored art and literature over the hustle and bustle of big cities. According to Werklock, Cather chose to “display the qualities of courage, perseverance, and a sensitivity to natural beauty, no matter how difficult the circumstances” are in each of her short stories. Through this…show more content…
In the beginning of the story Paul is portrayed as a stereotypical high school teen: causing trouble in the classroom. However, as the story progresses, the reader sees Paul develop into a rather withdrawn character. Paul is bothered by the dullness of his home and school life, and would much rather be spending his time at Carnegie Hall with the actors and actresses. For this reason, Paul can be described as a round and dynamic character. Paul is happiest in his fantasy world than the realities of the real world, which “represent his idea of beauty and personal brilliance” (Saari 389). Likewise, the narrator describes Paul’s pupils as “abnormally large, as though they were addicted to belladonna” (Cather 124). Belladonna, translated from Italian, means “beautiful lady.” The drug itself causes the pupils to dilate, giving them a striking appearance. This is significant because it further underlines Paul’s passion for art and beautiful things in his fantasy

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