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The curious case of paul

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Paul’s world is built upon untruths. Paul does not care to join in the world of music and drama; he is satisfied just to live vicariously through its proximity. Paul feasts off the efforts of others. For Paul, the whole world is all lies, and the theater is one more of Paul’s illusions. For Paul, it was easy and necessary for overcoming the difficult task of effort.
The theater is not only his escape from school but also from Cordelia Street. Cordelia Street is the symbol of the ” colorless mass of everyday existence”. Paul can not subscribe to the middle class and could never be a clerk. He would never become one of the ” rivets in the machine” that his father had. Paul wanted to be at the top ” though he had no mind for the cash-boy stage”. Paul needs more. Paul immerses himself in the drama of the theater with fanatical tales of his exaggerated importance. Fearing that Paul had wandered too far from the center of normality, his father demands that he be put to work. Alienated from school by the strict teachers, from home by his father’s dismal existence and banished from the theater Paul creates a new illusion. He steals money from the bank deposit of his father’s employer.
Paul uses the money to create yet another surreal existence for himself. He travels to New York and spends the money on finery, flowers, and fine boarding conditions. As the money runs low and Paul realizes he is being searched for, Paul has nowhere to turn except to his grim reality. The reality of life finally catches up with the child. The truth that he had been able to lie away, to escape, and to run from had come out of the darkness to confront Paul. Gazing into the darkened corner where he kept reality hidden he realized, ” It was bad enough, what he saw there, but somehow not so bad as his long fear of it had been”. But for Paul, it was too late. He had lied out of existence.
Paul’s final act of violence was the culmination of his progressive denial of reality. Paul had created his own undoing by the unrealistic desire to be something that he was unwilling to accomplish. In the final analysis, Paul was simply lazy. It was not Cordelia Street, the principal, or his father that threw him under the train. It was Paul’s self-centered attitude that allowed others to create a world for him. When the others were gone and the money had run out, there was no reality left for Paul. Paul had simply ceased to exist.

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