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Literature & Language
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English (U.S.)
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Analyzing Short Stories: Paul’s Case by Willa Cather Language Essay (Essay Sample)

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analyze the dominant element in Paul’s Case by Willa Cather

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Analyzing Short Stories: Paul’s Case by Willa Cather
Short stories do always have various elements that define them. The elements explain more about the contents of the stories. However, there are those stories that have single dominant elements that help identify the central ideas in the story. Such an element dominates the other others too much that one might think that the story is solely about it. In Willa Cather's short story, Paul's Case, a dominant element presents itself.
First, the single dominant element in the story is alienation. The element especially occurs when Paul alienates himself from other people, especially through the exhibition of contempt. It comes due to his individualism and being an aesthete according to the fancying he undergoes. He happens to believe that the people who are around him, such as the teachers, neighbors, colleagues, and the father, lack sophistication. The element also exhibits when Paul completely ignores his schoolwork and goes ahead by taunting his teachers. He also pretends to his fellow students that he associates with the theater performers traveling throughout the world. This demonstrates his dislike for the life around him (Pickering 203).
Second, alienation dominates in the story when it is associated with him having an inferiority complex. When a person has the psychological disorder of inferiority complex, they try to compensate for their feelings through taking part in various aggressive behaviors. They also do it through the fantasies they have about their achievements and success so far. The alienation also arises from his mother's early death. She left him without the much love that he needed. Thus, the condition made it possible for him to exhibit all the symptoms of an individual having the mental debility condition (Pickering 204).
The element influences other elements in the story through various approaches. First, alienation relates to the element of artificiality by Paul preferring artificial to natural. Cather says that Paul liked artificial because natural wore the guise of ugliness. When a person is alienated, they always tend to prefer things that are alienated too. In most cases, people prefer natural things to artificial ones. They know and understand that nature is healthy. They argue that artificial always has side effects hence making it difficult for certain people to survive. He wants to associate with artificiality because they both rhyme in various aspects (Pickering 197).

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