free will or determined analyse of “Paul’s case” written by Willa Cather “Paul’s case”was a story written by the famous female writer/ journalist Willa Cather, the story explores the life of an idealistic young boy named Paul who hates his impoverished life. Paul strongly believes that he was meant to be born in a rich family instead of a mid-class home. He tries to escape from the impoverished environment of which he live in and only approaches either rich, or famous people .
Sadly, in the end, Paul kills himself when he realizes his father is on the way to New-York to take him back home , because he finds it impossible to return to his original life after exposed to the upper-class luxuries . surely , Paul is very obsessed with money and material goods. The strange conviction that money is the key to all his trouble, the lack of connection between hard work and lustre, and finally, his self-destructive nature have all greatly contributed to the final upshot of the story. lthough Paul seems to be free willed and did everything to his passion , but never the less , his actions are guided by the 3 factors listed above ,which together determine the tragic ending. Paul is a very materialistic person who is overpowered by the false belief that money can solve everything ,leading to his ultimate downfall . Notice his attitude towards the environment in which he lives in. His mockery, and despise to the hard working people and his father demonstrates his resentful feeling towards poverty and explains why he struggles to attain a rich man life.
Paul mentions his room twice in the story,both times he seems to be disgusted by the “ugly yellow wallpaper”, “the painted wooden bed and the pictures of George Washington and John Calvinand”. Latter on, Paul uses his room as a contrast to bring out the beauty of the luxury hotel room. Obviously,he enjoys living in the hotel so much to the point that not only he has to feel the warmth of the “hotel” bad when he’s sleeping, and on top of that, he keeps the light on all the time so there won’t be a moment of doubt.
Paul’s unnatural conception on wealth was foreshadowed in the opening paragraph, when he goes to see the Principal on account of his misdemeanours . In the meeting, he was way overdressed and keeps a fake, elegant and dandy smile on his face. He tries to copy the appearance of a well educated nobleman, but misses the connotation underneath . Paul enters the room wearing an worn but extravagant overcoat, a tan velvet on the collar “an opal in in his neatly knotted black four-in-hand ,and even a red carnation in his buttonhole”.
It’s apparent that he wouldn’t let lose the slightest chance to to feel rich and powerful ,especially among the ordinary people. Paul loves money but he fails to establish a link between wealth and hard work. As much as Paul wants to be on the top of the game,however he feels no urge to work his way up the ladder. Withdrawing from school is not the only symptom ,as it is clear that Paul has the feels that he deserves everything from the New-York trip, the stolen money, and the enjoyment of fine art .
The only reason he has a part time job not because he wants to save some money to achieve his goals but so that he could stay at the concert to listen to opera . His passion for music and fine art has become an passive addiction which helps him to escape the reality , since appreciating art and music needs no effort and it is considered as an upper class’ way of living. Similarly, he goes to classes not to learn but to look out the window. And when his friend asks him if he wants to become an actor one day, he denies it without a second thought.
He enjoys but feels no necessity to engage nor participate: “what he wanted was to see, to be in the atmosphere, float on the wave of it, to be carried out, blue league after blue league, away from everything” This quote reveals his self-renouncing nature, and partially justifies the ending of the story. In Paul’s world, “the nature always wore the guise of ugliness, that a certain element of artificiality seemed to him necessary in beauty” many of his actions are triggered by this view on life. In fact this prospective is what provoked him to become so self-destructive and withdraw and chiefly determines the ending.
As mentioned above, indulging in art was only one of his ways of escaping the reality, death is another option. Much before his suicidal act in New-York, he devotes a whole night picturing what it would be like if his father accidentally kills him as a bugler. More disturbingly, he also imagines what happens if one day his father regrets not killing him. Paul is constantly bugged by fear, but never the less , he considers death as an ideal solution to life. Even at the finest moment of his life, when he prepares to go to New-york, Paul still buys a pistol so that he is entirely eady to take away his miserable life at any moment. Even though it’s Paul’s free will to die at the end of the story ,but his death is very much determined by the three contradicting aspects in his character. He longs to be rich, and strongly believes that wealth is the simple solution to all his problems in life. And besides his thirst of money,he also fails to recognize the link between hard work and success, and lastly, he is very self-destructive and withdraw from life. these factors builds upon one another and together determines the tragic ending.