How does Cather use the device of point of view in the story, "Paul's Case," to advance the plot, develop characters, and shape the theme? Thank-you everyone.

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Cather's use of a third-person point of view puts us at a critical distance from Paul, the protagonist. The title of the story "Paul's Case " is significant; in reading about what happens to Paul, it's almost as if we're examining the case files of a psychiatric patient....

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Cather's use of a third-person point of view puts us at a critical distance from Paul, the protagonist. The title of the story "Paul's Case" is significant; in reading about what happens to Paul, it's almost as if we're examining the case files of a psychiatric patient. That being the case, it's only right and proper that we maintain an appropriate distance from Paul to better evaluate his actions from a moral and psychological standpoint.

This is all the more crucial when one considers that Paul inhabits a fantasy world of his own making. As we might find it hard to understand Paul's motivations from the inside, as it were, we need to be able to maintain a certain distance from him and his actions. Had Cather used a first-person point of view, we might have found it hard to make much sense of what was going on inside Paul's mind. Certainly he would've come across as less sympathetic. As it is, however, the third-person point of view allows the reader to develop a fair degree of both empathy and sympathy for Paul as he moves inexorably towards his tragic demise.

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The point of view is a third-person one.  The narrator relates Paul's story more effectively than if it had been told through Paul, for example.  Because the narrator is objective, we get a thorough picture of what Paul's life is like and what he is going through. This is why the narrator's account moves the plot along well.

The only character that the narrator develops is Paul because that is the only character that needs development.  It is important we know his father's role and others' roles in Paul's decision to steal from his employer and go, on a whim, to New York City to fulfill a little of his dream.  The other characters are flat because they do not need development.  If there were developed, it would shift the focus away from Paul.

The point of view helps shape the theme through the straight forward style of the narrator.  We learn quickly about the troubles that Paul is facing and how he can be irrational when dealing with these problems when pushed far enough.

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