Paul's Case

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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In this essay I plan to compare and contrast two different characters. I will combine Arnold Friend from, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been, by Joyce Carol Oates, to Paul from "Paul's Case" by Willa Cather. Although each character has a distinctly different personality they are alike in as many ways as they are different.

Paul is a very calm, mild mannered individual who does not put his problems upon anyone else. Paul hides from his problems in imagining that he is someone else in a different place. Paul finds comfort at Carnegie Hall listening to music, and watching a higher class of society. Instead of dealing with the problems that he has in life, Paul decides to take the easy way out and kill himself.

Arnold, on the other hand, makes bold gestures meaning he does not hold anything back, he says anything that crosses his mind.

Arnold cares only about himself and would put his status in front of anyone else any time. Arnold enjoys stalking girls and making them feel uneasy. He is a coward who preys upon people who are weaker than himself.

Paul lacks companionship in his life, meaning he does not have anyone that he is close to. This is an internal conflict within Paul because he does not have any means of human interaction and no way to release his thoughts and feelings. Paul therefore has no choice but to keep all of his thoughts to himself. Paul makes generalizations about society and how he would like to be something that he is not instead of enjoying what he is. Paul seems to think that a person's happiness depends solely on how many material items a person has. Paul would define a "fine person" (page 360) as one...

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