How does Willa Cather portray innocence and experience in "Paul's Case"?
Paul's Case is an interesting statment on innocence and experience because Willa Cather mixes the two in all of her characters. She does this by making what is innocent to one, experience for another. Paul, for example, may be innocent, but to his teacher's he is a threat, his experience (that they perceive) makes them wary. Paul, though, can not be considered an experienced character. He lives only in Philadelphia (and breifly in New York), he knows only that which he tries to (the theatre) and remains innocent to the rest of the world. It is only right before he commits suicide that he sees this innocence for himself "the adriatic water, the algerian sand." Cather makes sure that issue of innocence and experience is the last thing that Paul thinks of.