Summary Of Paul's Case Study In Temperament

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How should people, who make irrational decisions because of mental disorders, be looked at? Well, this question is brought up in “Paul’s Case: A Study in Temperament” by Willa Cather. The main character, Paul, wishes to always be surrounded by luxury which drives him to make several premature choices. Consequently, he can be classified by a personality disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) which is common among people who try to cover up their low self-esteem by seeking perfection and satisfaction in extravagant things (“Narcissistic Personality”). Paul’s thoughts, attitude, and actions show he has narcissistic personality disorder. One way Paul shows characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder is in his thoughts.…show more content…
When Paul is prevented from going to Carnegie Hall, his wish for being surrounded by beauty and luxury drive him to steal thousands of dollars then run off to live in luxury (Cather 8). Paul’s desires for returning to luxury override any sense of caution for the consequences. For example, he does not consider what his choices could do to his father’s reputation. So, his actions perfectly correlate with some of the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder: “taking advantage of others to get what you want” as well as “having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others” (“Narcissistic Personality”). His decision to steal money and run away is driven by the anxiety his mental disorder brings when he is not surrounded by nice things. He cannot stop his anxiety without satisfying the desire that NPD brings, explaining why he makes this inconsiderate decision. Another way Paul’s actions show his disorder is when he kills himself. Leading up to his choice to take his own life, Paul gets the news that his father, after paying off Paul’s debt, is on the way to get him (Cather 10). Consequently, Paul’s disorder twists his brain so much he cannot bear to live without luxury; therefore, considering suicide is a possible complication of narcissistic personality disorder, he acts in a way that correlates with people diagnosed with NPD (“Narcissistic Personality”). Paul
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