© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Paul's Case: A Study in Temperament

Paul's Case: A Study in Temperament


by Willa Cather

Paul's Case: A Study in Temperament Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Could Paul's suicide have been prevented? If so, how? What, if anything, could have been done to help Paul? Can you relate to Paul? Why or why not? Are you like him or have you ever met anyone like him?
  2. How do you think Paul's father reacts to Paul's death? What about Charley Edwards?
  3. Willa Cather wrote "Paul's Case" with very few dramatic incidents. Most of the story is told without any description of action. Why might that be?
  4. What is the dark secret that Paul is hiding? Does it matter if we know, or is the story more effective if the secret remains a secret?
  5. Why is Paul so willing to cut all ties with his family? Why doesn't he care about his family?
  6. "Paul's Case" was first published in 1905. In what ways are its themes still relevant? Or irrelevant?
  7. Which relationships seem to be a source of pleasure for Paul? Of pain?
  8. What, finally, does Paul want out of life? Why does he think that theft is the only way to attain it?

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...