Paul's Case by Willa Cather Essay

Pages: 3 (876 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature

¶ … Paul's Case

Faust -- In his book Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing Kennedy tells us only that it is a "tragic grand opera." (Quote: "Faust: tragic grand opera (1859) by French composer Charles Gounod.")Expand on his note. What is Faust noted for? In what other forms does the story appear?

Faustus is a great scholar who sells his soul to the devil for power and a vision of Helen of Troy, in Marlowe's dramatic version of the tale, and for the love of a beautiful peasant girl in Goethe's epic dramatic poem Faust. Although Faust has a great mind and is frustrated by what he perceives as the limits of his existence as a human being, ultimately Faust becomes distracted by petty, earthly, and sensual cares and sells his soul to the devil. He loses his chance at eternal life, the chance every person has to live if they are good and faithful and instead becomes obsessed with transient things. He is also very arrogant and thinks himself smarter than most mortals. Paul is a kind of modern-day Faust, although Paul has very little reason to think that he is superior to other people. However, Paul gives up everything for a few days in a fancy hotel in New York City, where he can drink champagne and gaze at socialites.

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"Cordelia Street" (mentioned in paragraphs 19, 22, 24, 27, 51, 55, 57) --Who was Cordelia? What does her sad life symbolize that might be important in Cather's story?

Essay on Paul's Case by Willa Cather Assignment

Shakespeare's King Lear had three daughters. When dividing his kingdom amongst them after he grew too old to administer it himself, two of them (Goneril, the eldest, and Reagan, the middle child) praised him lavishly when he staged a competition amongst them for their birthrights. His youngest daughter Cordelia refused to praise him, and said she loved him according to her bond -- in other words, she was honest, and had no more nor no less to give him than her affection as his daughter. Lear was angry, and as a result, gave Cordelia nothing in return. However, Goneril and Reagan cast Lear out of their homes after they got their land -- Cordelia and her father tried to win the kingdom back, but Cordelia was killed after she is taken prisoner.

This story shows the importance of simple, homespun truth without added 'glitter' or false praise -- something that Paul never learns, even though he loves the stage where Shakespeare's plays are still performed.

"He had no mind for the cash boy stage" (paragraph 25) --Hint: Look up Horatio Alger.

Unlike a Horatio… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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