"Paul's Case" by Willa Cather is a short story that portrays misunderstanding, problems that caused by all-or-nothing thinking, parents’ neglectfulness and unwillingness to have a look at a case from a child’s point of view. Willa Cather is well-known for her disliking for female writers’ excessive sentimentality, and this inclination is especially noticeable in this work: she doesn’t let herself be overly-emotional. In spite of the fact that the story depicts a tragic life of a young adult, the narrator remains unfussy.
If Paul had lived at the present time, he would probably have been diagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t happen. It was said that he couldn’t stand dullness of everyday existence. The grey outfits of his teachers, his small room, his father who continued to praise a neighbor who married a woman for her money, Sabbath school and even a street his house stood on seemed to suppress him. His strange alienation and bizarre stories he made up to entertain himself and – rather occasionally – his classmates earned him a reputation of an eccentric. Obviously, he didn’t have friends and was anything but a teacher’s pet. They hated him as much as he despised them. Carnegie Hall was the only one place where he felt happy, at ease. Brightness, festivity, beauty of every single detail and – of course – divine music made Paul feel elated. That everyday does of splendor helped him to put up with other aspects of his life. His father, probably believing that his decision was the only one way out, decided that Carnegie Hall wasn’t a place for his son. He wanted him to concentrate on his study and future. One of the most interesting things about Paul was that he didn’t value money, he viewed them only as an instrument that was supposed to help him to get everything he wanted. The boy wasted them easily, beautiful clothes meant more that stability. Just like many other young adults, he had that all-or-nothing thinking that colored the world in black and white. If he had had someone close to him and an opportunity to confide in, his life might have unfolded according to a different scenario.
Paul’s father was not a bad man. He had other children, who seemed to be quite happy and content with their lives, so he wasn’t a bad father either. The problem was that he was a bad listener. The had never even tried to have a heart-to-heart with Paul. He planned Paul’s life for him and couldn’t understand why the boy was reluctant to follow that well-trodden path. A role of a parent shouldn’t presuppose making decisions for children. "Paul's Case" is a story that every young adult and their parents should read. It is supposed show them how important it is to listen to each other.