Prof. Madeleine Vala
English Honor Course
“Most teens after making a suicide attempt say that they did it because they were trying to escape from a situation that seemed impossible to deal with or to get relief from really bad thoughts or feelings.” (Teens Health). “Paul’s Case” written by Willa Cather “explores the dangers of art and the struggles ofartists and artistically inclined youth in a commercial world.” (eNotes). In “Paul’s Case”, Paul’s disappointment toward his lifestyle leads him to depression and bad behavior. He realized that the only way to resolve or escape his problems is to commit suicide.
As an middle-class citizen, Paul is disgusted by his impoverished mood of living. Constantly feels humiliated by his poor and littlemoney he has, always analyzing the power of money/wealth. He loathes for high-class lifestyle, hates every detail of his, the dull neighborhood and neighbors, the inelegant conversations on the front stoops by women, men talk about the prices of things and their worship to their chiefs/bosses. When going into his street always thought he wanted more. “Paul never went up Cordelia Street without ashudder of loathing.” (Cather, pg.4).
Paul dislikes his house as much as being a middle-class person. It is noticed immediately by the way he feels when approaching his house. “…the hopeless feeling of sinking back forever into ugliness and commonness that he had always had when he came home.” (Cather, pg.4). He despises every aspect of its inside. “…his upstairs room and its horrible yellowwallpaper, the creaking bureau with the greasy plush collar box, and over his painted wooden bed the pictures of George Washington and John Calvin, and the framed motto, "Feed my Lambs"” (Cather, pg.4) “…his ugly sleeping chamber; the cold bathroom with the grimy zinc tub, the cracked mirror, the dripping spigots” (Cather, pg.4). His hatred toward his house it’s a reason why he wants to join a higherclass.
Paul always felt interested on fancy, elegant, high-class things. “…these stories of palaces in Venice, yachts on the Mediterranean, and high play at Monte Carlo appealed to his fancy, and he was interested in the triumphs of these cash boys who had become famous, though he had no mind for the cash-boy stage.” He loved the riches but, didn’t want to work for it. He just wanted to get tothe top without having to sweat through his way up. Believes that the only way out to what he has always loath is having money, reason to why he commits thievery. He stoles a thousand dollars from his work, Denny & Carson. By stealing, it can inferred that he will do anything, that doesn’t involve hard work or the “cash-boy stage”, to reach his goal, being rich.
He believes that peoplewhere born rich and others were born poor but, neglects the idea that he is poor and that it was a mistake that he was born this way. When he steals, feels complete, full, happy, “was exactly the kind of boy he had always wanted to be.” (Cather, pg.8). By feeling this way, it clearly supports that he always wanted to be rich without passing through the “cash-boy stage” living.
After stealing hegoes to New York, city where dreams are made of. As he passes through he sees artificial flowers, which were “vastly more lovely and alluring”. So, artificial flowers are more beautiful than natural flowers. As the same with his life, his artificial life, being a high-class person, and his natural life, being a middle class person. Feeling that he was born to be beautiful not ugly; born to be richnot poor. In New York he lived, felt the “omnipotence of wealth” (Cather, pg.8).
While he is in Waldorf hotel, a prestigious, elegant hotel, he starts carefully to analyze his “new” kind of lifestyle. How he felt, how he changed. His past life, Cordelia Street, was just some little shadow forgotten. He felt like a prisoner left free, “that his surroundings explained him” (Cather, pg.9). There...