An idealistic, lying, suicidal young man, Paul fits in nowhere and looks down on nearly everyone he knows. He is class-conscious and reserves his approval for rich people and those involved in the art world. Desperate for both acceptance and superiority over others, he lies about his friendships with actors to make himself seem important.
Paul entered the faculty room suave and smiling. His clothes were a trifle outgrown, and the tan velvet on the collar of his open overcoat was frayed and worn; but for all that there was something of the dandy about him, and he wore an opal pin in his neatly knotted black four-in-hand, and a red carnation in his buttonhole.
This latter adornment the faculty somehow felt was not properly significant of the contrite spirit befitting a boy under the ban of suspension.
Paul was tall for his age and very thin, with high, cramped shoulders and a narrow chest. His eyes were remarkable for a certain hysterical brilliancy, and he continually used them in a conscious, theatrical sort of way, peculiarly offensive in a boy. The pupils were abnormally large, as though he were addicted to belladonna, but there was a glassy glitter about them which that drug does not produce.
When questioned by the Principal as to why he was there Paul stated, politely enough, that he wanted to come back to school. This was a lie, but Paul was quite accustomed to lying; found it, indeed, indispensable for overcoming friction.
His teachers were asked to state their respective charges against him, which they did with such a rancor and aggrievedness as evinced that this was not a usual case. Once, when he had been making a synopsis of a paragraph at the blackboard, his English teacher had stepped to his side and attempted to guide his hand.
Paul had started back with a shudder and thrust his hands violently behind him. The astonished woman could scarcely have been more hurt and embarrassed had he struck at her.
The insult was so involuntary and definitely personal as to be unforgettable.
In one way and another he had made all his teachers, men and women alike, conscious of the same feeling of physical aversion.
In one class he habitually sat with his hand shading his eyes; in another he always looked out of the window during the recitation; in another he made a running commentary on the lecture, with humorous intention.
His teachers felt this afternoon that his whole attitude was symbolized by his shrug and his flippantly red carnation flower, and they fell upon him without mercy, his English teacher leading the pack.
He stood through it smiling, his pale lips parted over his white teeth. His lips were continually twitching, and be had a habit of raising his eyebrows that was contemptuous and irritating to the last degree.
Older boys than Paul had broken down and shed tears under that baptism of fire, but his set smile did not once desert him, and his only sign of discomfort was the nervous trembling of the fingers that toyed with the buttons of his overcoat, and an occasional jerking of the other hand that held his hat.
Paul was always smiling, always glancing about him, seeming to feel that people might be watching him and trying to detect something. This conscious expression, since it was as far as possible from boyish mirthfulness, was usually attributed to insolence or "smartness.
Paul shrugged his shoulders slightly and his eyebrows twitched.In Willa Cather’s “Paul’s Case: A Study in Temperament”, a short story set in Pittsburgh and New York, Cather introduces us to the young Paul.
Self-centered, delusional, and some may even argue, narcissistic, Paul is fascinated and encapsulated by the fine arts around him. , The Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and Educational Foundation (now the Willa Cather Foundation) was founded to support the study of her life and work, and to maintain many sites in her hometown of Red Cloud, Nebraska.
Analysis of Paul’s Case “Paul’s Case,” by Willa Cather tells the story of a young boy who is disillusioned by his suburban lifestyle. A constant nuisance to his teacher’s, Paul belittles the world around him with a sort of arrogance.
"Paul’s Case: A Study in Temperament" is a short story by Willa Cather that was first published in It is not therefore insignificant that Willa Cather’s brilliant short story ‘Paul’s Case’ opens up in the school room.
Teachers surround the main character, the student Paul, as judges might an especially unrepentant criminal. Analysis of Paul’s Case by Willa Cather Essay Words | 11 Pages According to many readers of Paul’s Case, this is a short story that shows affection, passion, and most of all enthusiasm.