Paul's Case

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A Character Study “Paul’s Case”
The title character in the story “Paul’s Case” is interesting to me in the emotional dichotomy he displays outwardly compared to his true inner feelings. His projected image toward his teachers and peers is that of aloof confidence, as though he is unaffected by those around him and their reactions to his “various misdemeanors”. He displays this both in his appearance, “His clothes were a trifle outgrown, and the tan velvet on the collar of his open overcoat was frayed and worn; but for all that there was something of the dandy about him, and he wore an opal pin in his neatly knotted black four-in-hand, and a red carnation in his buttonhole.” This physical appearance successfully attempts to show he did not feel “contrite spirit befitting a boy under the ban of suspension.” Unfortunately for Paul this aloofness had lost whatever sense of appreciation or admiration it once had for the faculty which had provided Paul opportunity to continue his behavior, his actions had eventually worn thin the patience of the faculty and this came to a head during the meeting in the Principal’s office. “His teachers felt this afternoon that his whole attitude was symbolized by his shrug and his flippantly red carnation flower, and they fell upon him without mercy”. Paul further fostered this image of aloofness with his response to his English teachers complaint of a reaction to her reaching out to guide his hand and his recoiling as being an “insult was so involuntary and definitely personal as to be unforgettable. in one way and another he had made all his teachers, men and women alike, conscious of the same feeling of physical aversion”. Paul’s response to this accusation of discourteousness was, I don't know," he replied. "I didn't mean to be polite or impolite, either. I guess it's a sort of way I have of saying things regardless."

Over time this attitude displayed by Paul evoked frustration in his teachers but in the Principal it evoked...
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