"Paul's Case" Literary Analysis

Topics: Short story, Carnegie Hall Pages: 3 (1033 words) Published: February 24, 2013
Many adolescents and teenagers across the world go through many difficult obstacles, some more than others. A child’s atmosphere has a lot to do with what they do or do not accomplish in life. The protagonist, Paul, in Willa Cather’s short story “Paul’s Case” is a victim of these teenage troubles. From the very beginning of the short story it is rather evident that Paul is a troubled teenager. From the beginning you can tell that Paul is very uncomfortable in his surroundings. At school he uses his clothing and his attitude towards school to hide the fact that he feels this way. Paul wears a nervous smile on his face suggesting that he doesn’t want people to know that he is living an unsatisfying life. Paul is very fidgety and always has something in his hand that he plays with to keep himself occupied otherwise he might react differently when his teachers to tell him things he does not want to hear. Paul feels that his teacher’s prey upon him, “…they fell upon him without mercy, his English teacher leading the pack.” (401) Paul acts paranoid which makes the reader believe that he is in constant fear of getting hurt by someone or something. Paul feels the need to constantly look over his shoulder, “…seeming to feel that people might be watching him trying to detect something.” (401) Paul does this because he feels like he does not have anybody to look after him to ensure his safety. In addition to being uncomfortable at school, Paul’s home environment makes him feel uneasy too. Paul hates having to be someone else around his father; he does not understand why he cannot be himself. When Paul leaves his job at Carnegie Hall he feels dreadful walking home to his house because he hates his home environment, “ The nearer he approached the house, the more absolutely unequal Paul felt at the sight of it all…” (405). Paul’s house is unsanitary and not a good living environment for a teenager of his age to live in. Paul wishes to tell his father that, “he had gone home...
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