Paul's Case and Metamorphosis Comparison

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Joshua Butler

Professor Scott

English 102

27 July 2011

Essay # 2

Willa Cather's, "Paul's Case" and Frank Kafka's, "Metamorphosis" are short stories written in the early twentieth century, merely ten years apart. When comparing and contrasting these short stories, the reader finds that both stories share a similar point of view and the recurring themes of alienation and money run throughout these works.

Both "Paul’s Case” and “The Metamorphosis" are written in third person with a very restricted point of view. The point of view in Cather's work is limited to just that of Paul which changes early on and becomes omniscient. Kafka chose to keep his work in the point of view of Gregor, the protagonist, which becomes omniscient at the end of the story once he has died.

Cather's and Kafka's works share a common theme that creates a powerful message to their readers. Alienation is the theme that runs throughout both of these short stories. Paul is emotionally alienated from his family and peers, which may have led to his eventual suicide. Paul loathes his life on Cordelia Street where, according to him, the people look like their homes, ordinary and middle class. His contempt is demonstrated in his lack of concern for his education, his teachers, fellow students and his home life. He steals money and runs away to New York City. His behavior is typical of a person who has a psychological disorder and/or inferiority complex, and often attempts to compensate this frailty by being rude and aggressive toward others. People with this ailment often are loners and avoid situations where they may feel humiliated. Paul submerges himself in the arts observing those who participate, and this unhealthy escape eventually leads to his demise.

Gregor is also alienated both emotionally and physically after his transformation into a beetle. He at one point refers to this change as his "imprisonment." After his metamorphous, Gregor is no...
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