Paul's Case Questions and Answers
by Willa Cather

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In "Paul's Case," does Paul regret taking his actions in the end? How do you know?

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Kristy Wooten eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I am not sure which action you are referring to, so I am assuming it is his decision to run away and then subsequently killing himself.  It has been a great debate about whether Paul really knew what he was doing or he simply did not realize the seriousness of what he did.  He was driven by the desire to live the life he always wanted to live, which he could not do where he was, so he ran away to New York City after stealing from his employer.  Obviously, stealing was a serious offense, but running off to live his dream was not, in my opinion.  As for whether Paul...

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gbeatty eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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rickers | Student

If Paul feels regret, it is certainly as superficial as his other feelings throughout the story. I do not believe that Paul had some meaningful epiphany that he was throwing his life away- he had hours beforehand to realize that. Perhaps Paul realized that he had not played his part as well as he thought. He was trying to live as he imagined a young, wealthy gentleman would and to enjoy the luxury and glamour of upperclass life. Maybe right before the end, he realized that he hadn't had the full experience of wealth yet- he hadn't traveled.

That's just my view, and there is no substantial evidence in the text to support it, besides illustrations throughout the story of Paul's "case".