Paul's Case: A Study in Temperament
by Willa Cather
Charley is an teen actor at the local theater, and lets Paul hang around to help with the chores. We know they spend a fair amount of time together and that Charley helps Paul plan his New York trip. So, are they just good friends? Is Charley a symbol of what life could be like if Paul weren't stuck conjugating Latin verbs at school all day, or is their friendship something more?
Well, it certainly doesn't seem like they have much emotional attachment to each other. There's no talk about how Charley protested not being able to see Paul; all we hear is that he "remorsefully promised the boy's father not to see him again." So, more like Charley is sorry for leading Paul astray rather than he has some deep and lasting attachment.
But maybe Paul feels a little more strongly about it, and maybe a romantic relationship could explain some (but not all) of the huge gaps in this story. So, what evidence is there?
Check it out. Charley Edwards is the only guy with both a first and a last name in this story. Giving him two names when other characters (like Paul's dad) don't even get one is almost like putting his name up in lights over a theater. After all, the only other guy in the story with a name is Paul himself.
Charley and Paul, the only two people with names, and the only two people in Paul's world. Starting to seem a little more plausible, isn't it?