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Maternal Stability in Paul's Case by Willa Cather

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Maternal Stability in Paul's Case by Willa Cather Paul suffered setbacks and dilemmas because he never knew his mother as she died around the time of his birth. Therefore he is lacking the maternal guidance of emotional stability that every child needs to grow mentally. Paul is withdrawn from society, and he resorts to the arts and music to feel comfortable and free from his disassociation and sense of loneliness. One should not be confused and believe that his father was not loving or caring of Paul because his father did what he could to support Paul and to do all he could to get Paul out of problem situations. He just was not very keen on Paul's needs, especially his manners or clothing. The narrator described Paul's clothes as being "a trifle outgrown, and the tan velvet on the collar of his open overcoat was frayed and worn" (67). Men are not the gender who is as observant and uptight about people's attires. Men tend to desire less than women do, and this was inflicted upon Paul since it was his father who was overseeing Paul's limits on material well-being. It takes more of a female's point of view to judge if something looks perfect, and Paul and his father did not have this type of direction around. A master of Paul's noticed "what a white, blue-veined face it was; drawn and wrinkled like an old man's around the eyes, and stiff with nervous tension . . ." (69). The wrinkles apparently came from the stresses that ruled Paul. HE was constantly dealing with the pain of no mother and his nervous tension was that he knew how he did not fit in with all the other boys his age. He lacked the maternal stability and reassurance that most children had in order to be string mentally and emotionally. This stood out when he was aro... ... middle of paper ... ...e. Psychoanalytically speaking, Paul was depressed and it only worsened through his lies and physical aversion. This anxiety had closed in on him and caused him to feel even more alone. "What he wanted was to see, to be in the atmosphere, float on the wave of it, to be carried out, blue league after blue league, away from everything" (75). He was never able to distinguish from wrong and right; he lacked that guidance from his mother's tone of voice. He took his life because he figured that being out of the world was better than being in it. Paul still had a lot to learn, and yet more to overcome from his loneliness. Could his mother have been able to cure this if she were present? Bibliography Works Cited Cather, Willa. "Paul's Case." The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. Eds. R.V. Cassill and Richard Bausch. Shorter 6th ed. New York: Norton, 2000. 198-207.
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