Paul's Case: Personality Disorders

Leslie Smith
Professor Richard Dry
October 23, 2011
English 4 DE
Personality Disorders Can Destroy Lives
Childhood is the prime developmental stage of any individual’s life. We learn much about the world as a whole through the eyes of our parents and the environment that we grow up in. The knowledge we acquire from the influential people in our lives as a child has a deep impact on our ability to mature into adulthood. If a child is disturbed during the developmental years, this can cause the child to have issues that will affect their behavior and their personality for the entirety of their lives. In the story “Paul’s Case” the main character, Paul, had psychological issues that affected this thought process and his life dramatically; so much that death was inevitable for him.
Psychological criticism is a literary criticism that uses the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud to analyze fictional characters within a story. Using Freud’s psychoanalytic theories, one can determine the undiagnosed psychological issues of a character by studying their behavior. When a character’s behavior within a story is studied, it will reveal hidden motives, unconscious feelings, and disorders the character may have. The results from this analysis are then used to diagnose the character with one of the many behavioral and personality disorders that have been discovered in psychology. In “Paul’s Case” Paul requires psychoanalysis to bring light to his undiagnosed issues.
Willa Cather titles her short story “Paul’s Case” alerting the readers that Paul has some underlying issues. The readers may then question what exactly is Paul’s case? Early in the story, Paul seems like the typical immature child rebelling against authority. As the story progresses, Paul’s deeply rooted psychological issues become evident. Paul’s instructors give a description of the type of aggression he had but “his instructors felt that it was scarcely possible to put into words the real cause of...