Paul's Lies And Distance From Others in Paul's Case

Categories: Short Story

Small lies can lead to immense consequences, as does Paul’s distance from friends and family ultimately lead to his destructive behavior. In the short story, “Paul's Case” by Willa Cather Paul shows how lying is a useful way to avoid conflict but in the end, the truth always comes out no matter how much he tries to run away from reality. Cather shows that Paul’s distance from others leads him down a dark path.

Lies are a big influence in the short story, “Paul's Case.

” Paul is a kid who tries to hide his true self from others by lying to everyone. At a point, he even lies to himself by living a fake life in New York City with money that he stole. Paul is hiding a secret from others but no one knows what’s up with him. What leads to Paul’s demise is the culture of his school and town that surrounds him. One place where Willa Cather shows Paul’s lies is when Paul said, “he registered from Washington; his mother and father had been abroad, and that he had come down to await the arrival of their steamer (208).

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” In this quote, Cather suggests that Paul sees lying as a way to cope with his life at Cordelia street and to cover up his reality and how he really feels. There are times when Paul lies when he doesn’t have to, but he decides to take the easy way out. One example of this is when Cather says “Paul stated politely enough, that he wanted to come back to school.

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This was a lie, but Paul was quite accustomed to lying; found it, indeed, indefensible for overcoming friction (197).” Cather suggests that Paul is used to lying and has used it in the past a lot to get out of many situations; It’s wrong to lie even if the lie is small.

Paul’s distance from friends and family ultimately leads to his destructive behavior. He is not close to people and finds little comen interests with others. To make matters worse his father really doesn’t care enough about him and has no mother to talk things out with. Throughout the short story, there are places where Paul is alienated from others. One example of this is when Cather conveys, “His teachers felt this afternoon that his whole attitude was symbolized by his shrug and his flippantly red carnation flower (198).” Paul is just different from others and his teachers couldn’t accept that he was a creative person, they just thought he was doing this in an obnoxious way to show how bad he was. This shows how people see paul’s distance and differences from others. Pauls’s teachers would treat him like he was a terrible student and wouldn’t give him the help he needed they would try to make him normal by restricting him from doing things and punishing him when in reality he didn’t know any better. An example of this is when they ask pule about a remark he made and he says, “I don't know,” I didn’t mean to be polite or impolite, either. I guess its a sort of way I have, of saying things regardless (198).” In this excerpt, Cather suggests that Paul doesn’t know any better and was never taught how to be polite by his parents making him even more distant from others, and leads him to do destructive things.

Lying can lead to immense consequences and being distant from others can lead to destructive behaviors. In “Paul’s Case” there is a lot that suggests that Paul is not a normal kid. Nobody knows what’s wrong with him but even if they did the people around him don’t care enough to help him. Lying is a big part of how Paul copes with this and tries to hide his emotions. At times lying can seem like an easy solution to Paul but ultimately has many consequences

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Paul's Lies And Distance From Others in Paul's Case. (2024, Feb 04). Retrieved from

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