Paul is a misfit in every way, and the reader is given a detailed description of his conflicts with school, home, and society. Paul is different from his peers. He dresses with a kind of dandified elegance, sporting fancy neckwear and a flower in his lapel.
Overview[ edit ] Around the turn of the century, Pittsburgh was an industrial center with a successful class of business leaders.
According to Cather's story, these leaders were able to manage their companies while they were in Europe.
New York City was known to be a place that one can escape to. The descriptions of New York City contrast the descriptions of Paul's home, Pittsburghwhich he despises.
From his negative surroundings, he would be anxious to make a perfect way of living. From his conservative environment, he would purposely separate himself from everyone else and feel isolated.
For example, he enjoys a symphony concert not so much for the music, but for the atmosphere: Once he exhausts his funds, he commits suicide rather than allow his father to take him back to Pittsburgh.
Paul's teachers and father refer to Paul's "case," representing him at a distance and as an example of someone to be studied, handled, and managed. The term enables Cather to adopt "the voice of medical authority.
At the start of the story, Paul is suspended from his high school in Pittsburgh for a week. He meets with his principal and teachers who complain about Paul's "defiant manner" in class and the "physical aversion" he exhibits toward his teachers.
One of Paul's teachers also mentions that Paul's mother died back when he was a child in Colorado which later is shown to be of importance. He then goes to work at a music hall in Pittsburgh, named Carnegie Hall.
Here he enjoys donning his uniform and performing his job as an usher with enthusiasm as if he were the host of a grand social event. He stays for the concert and enjoys the social scene, while losing himself in the music.
After the concert, Paul follows the soloist and imagines life inside her hotel room.
Unfortunately, the audience learns that Paul and his father have a poor relationship. Upon returning home very late one night, Paul enters through the basement to avoid a confrontation with his father.
Paul stays awake all night imagining what would happen if his father mistook him for a burglar and shot him, or if his dad would recognize him in time. Paul despises the " burghers "  on his respectable but drab street.
Although his father considers him a role model for Paul, Paul is unimpressed by a plodding young man who works for an iron company and is married with four children. While Paul longs to be wealthy, cultivated, and powerful, he lacks the stamina and ambition to attempt to change his condition.
Instead, Paul escapes his monotonous life by visiting Charley Edwards, a young actor. Later on, Paul makes it clear to one of his teachers that his job ushering is more important than his schoolwork, and his father prevents him from continuing to work as an usher.
He buys an expensive wardrobe, rents a room at the Waldorf-Astoria Hoteland walks around the city. He also meets a young San Franciscan who takes him on an all-night tour of the city's lively social scene. His few days of impersonating a rich, privileged young man bring him more contentment than he has ever known.
This is because living a prosperous life is Paul's only hope and dream. Paul reveals that he had bought a gun on his first day in New York City, and he briefly considers shooting himself to avoid returning to his old life in Pittsburgh.
Eventually, he decides against it and instead commits suicide by jumping in front of a train. Paul made the ultimate decision of taking his own life because the thought of returning to his old one was too much for him to handle, and he felt the need to escape into a whole different world where it was much more enjoyable to be.
Symbolism[ edit ] Flowers- Flowers, such as a red carnation and violets, appear many times throughout the story. Since Paul sees everything as dull and boring, the flowers represent the desire that he has to find the beauty in life.
Paul had the opportunity to use a gun to end his life. However, the gun belonged to his father. Paul had always feared his father. His choice to not use the gun shows that Paul doesn't want to give his father anymore power over his life.
Right before Paul kills himself, the carnations are "drooping with the cold It premiered in April at the Artisphere in Washington, D. Willa Cather and the Politics of Criticism.
University of Nebraska Press,p. Studies in Short Fiction.Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Willa Cather‟s “Paul‟s Case” Because “Paul‟s Case” is written much like a descriptive analysis or case study in a patient‟s tempera-ment, the reader is left with several details about Paul that are mysterious and psychiatrically and medi-.
The Conflict Between Conformity and Individuality in Willa Cather's Paul's Case Willa Cather’s “Paul’s Case,” displays the conflict between conformity and individuality through the main character, Paul.
We would like to show you a description here but the site won’t allow us. Sounds pretty different from "Paul's Case." But like those pioneers, Paul wants a better life for himself, even if the life he's trying to escape—steady job, nice house, cute family—doesn't sound too bad to .
PAUL'S CASE A STUDY IN TEMPERAMENT BY WILLA SIBERT CATHER * I. IT was Paul's afternoon to appear before the faculty of the Pittsburg High School to account for his various misdemeanors. He had been suspended a week ago, and his father had called at the principal's office and confessed his perplexity about his son.
Paul entered the faculty room. "Paul's Case: A Study in Temperament" is a short story by Willa Cather. Jane Nardin explores the possibility that Paul's character is gay, and that this is a metaphor for a general feeling of being an outsider or not fitting in with a specific group of people.