Analysis Of ' Paul 's Case '

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From the subtle quirks and eccentricities in one’s tone of speech, to the sensations of rancor and bitterness that are palpable in a violent outbreak, all human activity is programmed by a complex phenomenon known as the human personality. The case of what constitutes this enigma is one of the many controversies that are analyzed and broken apart in Vincent Parrillo’s chapter, “Causes of Prejudice.” In particular, human temperament is expounded in Parrillo’s passage, and further observed and experimented with in Willa Cather’s short story “Paul’s Case.” Parrillo correlates one’s childhood upbringing and surroundings to the maturation of an authoritarian personality, akin to Paul’s rough development that contributes to his fervent prejudice of the middle class and ultimately, himself. In essence, personality can be construed as something very flexible and compliant at an early stage of one’s life. Parrillo substantiates the relations between a parent and his child, as the domestic atmosphere contributes largely to the development of authoritarian personality. Parrillo explicates, “If parents assume an excessively domineering posture in their relations with a child...when such children become adults, they may demonstrate displaced aggression, directing their hostility against a powerless group to compensate for their feelings of insecurity and fear”(Parillo 581). The growth of authoritarianism is dictated by various social variables, such as the aforementioned. Witnessing
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