Rhetorical Analysis of Jane Nardin’s “Homosexual Identities in Willa Cather’s Paul’s case

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Consumer Capitalism and its Negative Effects on the Lives of the Younger Generation

Consumer capitalism has negative effects on the lives of the young generation. Nardin Jane wrote, “Homosexual Identities in Willa Cather’s ‘Paul’s Case’” published in 2008 under History and Literature. Her arguments explain Cather’s understandings of the silent limits governing the depiction of sexuality and the manner in which they are related to genre (Nardin 31). She also describes the reasons why she selected the approach of indirection when she wrote her narrative of a homosexuality adolescent, “Paul’s Case” in 1905.

The Homosexual Motif in Willa Cather's "Paul's Case"

Nardin starts to construct her reasoning by delivering the history of an essay by Larry Rubin in 1975 on The Homosexual Motif in Willa Cather’s “Paul’s Case”, which contended that although this probability is never clearly elevated, the protagonist of may be gay. She also pointed out that in the 1970s; Rubin’s essay indicated that homosexuality serves as a metaphor in the story for more worldwide issues (Nardin 31). Nardin implies that the most important issues in Rubin’s essay were not about Paul being homosexual but symbolized the tragic effects of the opposing facts between ‘ethical’ middle-class environment and sensitivity. She also submitted that Rubin had decided to use literary work to represent an issue in society, hence the story should not be read in the lines of a historical perspective (Nardin 33).

The Importance of Historical Perspectives

In her article, Nardin provides the background of the concerns by delivering a detailed explanation through Rubin’s essay. For instance, she describes that the “Paul’s Case” which was published in 1905 illustrates the homosexuality roles which act primarily as ‘a metaphor’ for more important issues (Nardin 32). Moreover, she also describes that in this narrative, Paul and his acquaintances are unable to express compassion for others. Therefore, she deduces that the challenge on which the narrative concentrates on is the necessity for agape or love. For this reason, the lack of agape is the source of Paul’s alienation. Therefore, she recommends using historical perspectives in order to avoid some of the errors in reasoning witnessed in Rubin and Summers’ work (Nardin 33).

Cather's Life and the Development of Homosexuality in the Nineteenth Century

Throughout the article, Nardin employs credible accounts of Cather’s life that supports her to build the argument, appeal to ethos, and improve her credibility. For instance, her points of view are founded on the life of Cather and the emerging development of homosexuality subcultures in the nineteenth century (Nardin 33). In this regard, Cather had the experience to explore American homosexuality from different perspectives and what a young American boy, Paul, had encountered in his adolescence. Again, by quoting Cather’s work, Nardin raises the integrity of her work by illustrating that she has delivered facts to stress her claim (Nardin 37).

Appeals to Logic and Emotion

In terms of ethos appeal, Nardin utilizes solid appeals to logos with a diverse range of evidence and consistent arrangements of ideas (Longaker 13). In fact, she begins her discussion by examining the arguments by Rubin and Summers. Later, she examines the history perspective of homosexuality in America in order to distinguish the metaphorical representation of homosexuality (Nardin 34). Nardin also meticulously cultivates appeals to pathos in the article. For instance, her writing features many emotionally charged words and phrases. She described that “Paul suffer was suffering from alienation because of lack of agape” (Nardin 35). She also uses words such as “loathing,” which helps to describe his feelings. The phrase stirs the emotions of sympathy towards Paul who had lost his mother.

The Symbolism of Paul's Suicide

Finally, her concluding remarks emphasize that Paul’s suicide was a symbolism. Indeed, he decided to terminate his life by being hit by a train, signifying the effects that industrialization and commercialization have on his life. He decided to commit suicide through this method to demonstrate his association with his father (Nardin 40). He avoids using his father’s gun to kill himself to demonstrate that he does not assign his father any more authority over his life.

Work Cited

Longaker, Mark Garrett, and Jeffrey Walker. Rhetorical analysis: A brief guide for writers. Pearson Longman, 2011.

Nardin, Jane. "Homosexual Identities in Willa Cather's ‘Paul's Case’."Literature & History 17.2 (2008): 31-46.

November 24, 2023

Art Literature

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