A Misunderstood Person Paul is a very interesting character, who has struggles within himself in the story of Paul’s Case by Willa Cather. His teachers misunderstand him and see him as a trouble maker throughout the story. So Paul begins to be self-conscious about how people portray him because of his actions. Paul reflects on his actions and begins to confuse reality life to fantasy life where he is comfortable in because of all the amenities he had. Paul is misunderstood by his teachers so; Paul begins to live in his fantasy world where he makes his mistakes in the real world.
Paul is misunderstood by his teachers because of the way he looks and acts during the meeting the teachers have about him with the principal. This part of the story says. “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. ”(Cather pg. 245) This is explaining how his teachers are portraying him by comparing his body language to a flower.
Which symbolizes him shrugging off what his teachers though about him but, deep inside him he cared because Paul always thought someone was watching him. As the story said, “Paul was always smiling, always glancing about him, seeming to feel that people might be watching him and trying to detect something. ”(Cather pg. 245) His teachers are explaining him as being a selfish person thinking about himself all the time, but what they don’t know is that he does think about them and what they think about him.
Paul thinks that someone is always watching because of his teachers always trying to find something wrong about his life style. “He stood watching the approaching locomotive, his teeth chattering, his lips drawn away from them in a frightened smile, once or twice he glanced nervously sidewise, as though he were being watch. ”(Cather pg. 260) Towards the end of story he thinks before he jumps because begins to think about someone watching him. Showing how he is always thinking about what others thought about him and how know one ever quiet seem to understand him.
Paul seems to always be looking for someone to understand him, but in the end he was always misunderstood because of his choices that he made. Paul begins to confuse his fantasy life to reality and begins to make bad choices in his life. “The moment he inhaled the gassy, painty, dusty odor behind the scenes, he breathed like a prisoner set free, and felt within him the possibility of doing or saying splendid, brilliant things” (Cather pg. 251) His fantasy was to become a part of theatre in any way he could.
So he begins to think of going to New York to pursue his dreams, but what he doesn’t understand is that, that’s only his dream not reality. Paul pursues this dream by stealing, “There was above two thousand dollars in checks, and nearly a thousand in the banknotes which he had taken from the book and quietly transferred to his pocket. ” (Cather pg. 255) Paul takes the money for his selfish reasons of wanting to live his fantasy. It is wrong because he is living in his fantasy life and thinks nothing about it.
All Paul wants to do is be rich because that’s the way he portrays himself in his fantasy life without working for the money. “Presently he came out of his white bathroom, resplendent in his new silk underwear, and playing with the tassels of his red robe. The snow was whirling so fiercely outside his windows that he could scarcely see across the street” (Cather pg. 254) In the hotel Paul is living the good life because of the money he has stolen just as in his fantasy.
The following sentence shows how he finally begins to see reality because it’s showing how he is having a battle within himself about the bad things he did, which end up killing him inside. At the end of the story Paul ends up killing himself because he was never understood by his teachers or anyone else in his life. That made him unhappy within himself so he began to believe more in his fantasy world because he felt comfortable there. Paul didn’t seem to care about anything because he was living his fantasy life of being rich and going to New York.
It took Paul a while to understand that he was doing wrong by stealing money and living in his fantasy life instead of reality. Towards the end Pauls’ fantasies end up killing him, since he is never figure out he tries to escape to his fantasies to make him happy but, by doing so he causes more problems to himself making him deeply unhappy. So he decides to kill himself to live free from all the worries that made his life so confusing to him.