Topic: Paul's Case 2013

Discuss the ideas generated from and significance of details you connect to in Willa Cather's "Paul's Case".

You must be able to provide sufficient significant and relevant supporting evidence from "Paul's Case" to illustrate your ideas logically and persuasively.

Focus on topics exploring The Human Condition - In Search of Self.


Select a topic for discussion and consider these suggestions:

What ideas, feelings, or impressions does the text communicate to me about the topic?

What details in the text create and convey these ideas, feelings, or impressions?

What have I experienced or learned that is relevant to my ideas, feelings, or impressions of
the topic and/or the text?

What ideas and support will allow me to compose the most effective response to the topic?

How might this text relate to other texts, my ideas, and the topic?

2

Re: Paul's Case 2013

Paul a very confused teenager, more confused than most teenagers, is on the journey that we all take at one point in our lives to discover the individuals we are. Through his struggle Paul finally thinks he finds the person he is, they person he is okay with being, but because of financial issues and a father who is trying to hunt him down, Paul retreats to a hazardous answer. In his final moments he finally discovers his reasons to live and flourish, but it is to late, and his life is taken. The human condition in the situation has been stricken from him, he was brought to drastic conclusions because of the truth that reality portrayed before Paul. Paul did not see the beauty that life actually offered him before it was to late. He never came to realize it was the little things that made up the person he is.

Re: Paul's Case 2013

skrys wrote:

Paul a very confused teenager, more confused than most teenagers, is on the journey that we all take at one point in our lives to discover the individuals we are. Through his struggle Paul finally thinks he finds the person he is, they person he is okay with being, but because of financial issues and a father who is trying to hunt him down, Paul retreats to a hazardous answer. In his final moments he finally discovers his reasons to live and flourish, but it is to late, and his life is taken. The human condition in the situation has been stricken from him, he was brought to drastic conclusions because of the truth that reality portrayed before Paul. Paul did not see the beauty that life actually offered him before it was to late. He never came to realize it was the little things that made up the person he is.

"Journey" is such a powerful metaphor/analogy for our discovery of self. Remember to use terms appropriate for the study of a hero's journey: call to adventure, threshold between the known and the unknown, supernatural aid, helpers, mentors, challenges, temptations, revelations, abyss, death & rebirth, transformation, atonement, and the return. All very, hmmm, prodigal.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1b/Heroesjourney.svg

Re: Paul's Case 2013

skrys wrote:

Paul did not see the beauty that life actually offered him before it was to late. He never came to realize it was the little things that made up the person he is.

Consider Plato's duality, a vulgar reality which exist "out there" and an ideal reality only perceivable with the mind. The mind/body or mind/matter problem states that since our minds and bodies are not one, then there exists two types of stuff in the universe, the stuff that makes matter/bodies, and the stuff not made of stuff that makes minds and ideas.

Now if we reject dualism and try to "make new" the pursuit of monism - one "stuff" - then Paul was on the right track by exercising his imaginary ambitions. Given that imagination or the ideal is all there really is, and further if he cannot live in the realm of his golden imaginings, then he does not need to exist at all. Sad, really.

What does Cather's "epilogue" - the ending after the revolver revelation - suggest about this mind/matter problem?

Re: Paul's Case 2013

skrys wrote:

In his final moments he finally discovers his reasons to live and flourish, ... the truth that reality portrayed before Paul. Paul did not see the beauty that life actually offered him before it was to late. He never came to realize it was the little things that made up the person he is.

Recall Romans 5:1-8: "we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope". If hope is where true beauty is, if hope is indeed the final cause of the "design of things": then so too we see Paul's folly of avoiding suffering, endurance, and the hard work of building a character which produces hope. We can't skip straight to living an ecstatic life, we can't skip straight to actualizing hope, we must journey through the suffering, endurance, and the work of building character.

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Re: Paul's Case 2013

One thing we noted during the story was the corruption of the youthful mind. While it is obvious that through the theatre and Charlie Edwards Pauls mind has been corrupted. Paul within his mind envisions a perfect place. This perfect place is the Waldorf and the flowers and the high class life. Paul though lies to get what he desires and I believe that Paul knows that he is lying, and he accepts it, possibly even promotes it. I don't think though that Paul thought the whole plan through. He had to know that eventually the company was going to find out that he had lied and stole the money. He had to know that eventually his father that he feared would come and look for him. So one can almost interpret that he knew this ending would come. The suicide was inevitable for Paul's Character.

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Re: Paul's Case 2013

Paul is a very tragic character because he came to understand the foolishness of his ways too late. His desperate need to consume beauty and luxuries are an effort to overcompensate for his low class status.  Because looking into art and music replaced Paul’s need for knowledge, he chose to ignore the way the world worked and showed a lack of experience. Rather than working towards a dream or a goal, Paul was consumed by the need to impersonate the person he thought he should be. Lying to himself caused him to become isolated and made it impossible for anyone to understand how deep his obsession really was. At the end of the story as Paul is hit by the train he realizes the extent of what he had left undone and he fell back into "the immense design of things". Paul had a life full of struggle. He avoided what he feared would be a life on Cordelia Street but he became so occupied with separating himself from the people of society that he himself sealed his own fate.

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Re: Paul's Case 2013

As we grow up we all have dreams of how we want to live our life when we are older. Paul wanted a life of luxury and riches in the world of arts. The problem lies in that he wasn't willing to put in any effort to achieve his goals in life. He had contempt for almost everyone in his life, including his teachers, his father, and his classmates. He has alienated himself from loved ones and it has caused him great struggle. It isn't until the end of the story the he realizes how hastily he acted in committing suicide. He finally realizes that he has hardly seen any of the beauties in life. The story just goes to show that no matter what the circumstances in our life, we should always keep our loved ones close because they can help us through tough times.

9

Re: Paul's Case 2013

Paul struggles with the concept of reality, He seam to try to reject all aspects of authority even tho in the end this is the death of him, he feels so terrible about himself that he walks in front of a train ( kinda ironic btw`s) He thinks of his father as a tyrant instead of a teacher which is what he should be. he thinks of h=is teachers as boring and useless. until he has nothing but money and money cannot buy happyness.

http://www.lyricsfreak.com/s/simon+and+garfunkel/richard+cory_20124655.html

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Re: Paul's Case 2013

Paul is character that you can both sympathise with and feel anger with. The sympathy comes from seeing that paul is a struggling and confused young man who has created a mirage that his perfect world exists and there is no way to exist it the real world. He creates a collision course between these two worlds and shows by ending his own life that only one will prevail. The anger comes with the fact that Paul has created this collision course and is unable to find a way to spare his own life. Everyone has a world that they wish that could exist but in reality we have to come to terms with real life and accept that not everything in our life is going to be perfect. Paul has his priorities set on his non existent world and completely shuts out all laws and morals in his real one, a path that never has a happy ending.

11 (edited by smccormack 2013-06-09 17:16:57)

Re: Paul's Case 2013

Paul has inner conflict. He struggles to find meaning in his own life; he is searching but he lacks an answer. Paul cannot find the meaning in Cordelia Street with his father and the commonness of it all. The only place Paul found any sort of comfort was at the theatre where he worked. The symphonies released a "potent spirit within him" which gave him interest in life, but only for a while. Paul's desires were not entirely met by the music at the theatre therefore he went in search for a more luxury type lifestyle, hoping to find meaning. Paul went on an adventure into a life of wealth and luxury but in the end he still couldn't find the reasons behind it all. He still couldn't find what he was in search of. Paul was fighting to find meaning in some part of his life but he didn't discover any until it was too late.

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Re: Paul's Case 2013

Paul is tragically flawed. Unlike most, who don't know the life they want, Paul knows exactly the type of life he wants, or so he thinks. Paul thirsted for the glamour, the beauty of living the high life, and he would do anything to attain that. However, even though he is mildly successful in attain the life he wanted, the experience eventually becomes hollow. superficial. It's at this point that Paul believes that he's lived his life to it's fullest, and that there's nothing more to experience. This is the tragedy that is Paul's life. He secluded himself so much from the life he was living that he blinded himself from how much potential his life still had. It corrupted his mind, and he was stuck fighting something that wasn't all that bad. The true tragedy of Paul's story is not that he gave up on life, the true tragedy is that he came to the realization of how much his life had in store, right before he died.

13

Re: Paul's Case 2013

Paul is a character who builds his life on lies. He lies to overcome threats, like his father and the 'faculty'. Paul lies when faced with authority. Charles Darwin believes that lying is a natural part of humans attempting to survive, although Paul uses lying to build himself a reality. Paul wants so much in life, he wants meaning and he wants everything grandiose. Paul lies and wants so much because he knows that what he wants isn't going to be found in the real world. He is consumed by the theatre, by the idea that there is so much more for him. Paul wants what the actors have, but is not willing to do the hard work in order to get there, therefore he uses lies as a way to build this sad reality until the end of his life.

14

Re: Paul's Case 2013

Paul is a teenager who has a defined attitude about life. Paul seems to feel a rejection and hatred for those who hold an authoritative positions. Paul cannot show emotion to these people and rather gives off a smart-allelic attitude. All's Paul wants from his life is to escape the one in which he currently lives. Why stay on Cordelia Street when he could be in much bigger and better places? He is a common and most ordinary person, living a middle class life, but this is not what Paul wants for himself. Rather than excepting who he is, he looks to run away and be someone else. Paul is not content with his own life, and looks for greater challenges and ideals outside where he should be.