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Identify examples of the four types of conflicts in "Paul's Case." 

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lalala-hehe | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 19, 2008 at 2:09 PM via web

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Identify examples of the four types of conflicts in "Paul's Case." 

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 19, 2008 at 10:10 PM (Answer #1)

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There are two types of conflict, external conflict that occurs outside the character and internal conflict which occurs within the character.  For Paul, the conflicts intersect.

Paul's internal conflicts far outweigh his external conflicts in this story.  So much so that his belief that only money and beauty will give his life meaning, lead him to external conflicts with the authorities and subsequently to his death.  

"Paul steals from his employer and leaves for New York City. There he realizes his dreams of buying expensive clothes, staying at the Waldorf, a grand hotel, attending the opera, and becoming "exactly the kind of boy he had always wanted to be."

"When his crime is discovered, Paul cannot face returning to the "ugliness and commonness" of Cordelia Street and commits suicide by jumping in front of a moving train."

His internal conflicts, his dissatisfaction with life, his desire to be someone else, but without a willingness to work for it, combine to produce a desperate, isolated state of rejection for this character.

As a result of Paul's feeling outside of his family, his fellow students and everyone in his life, he commits suicide rather than return to his ordinary life.

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