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Is Paul a static character or a dynamic one?

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ulrich | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 22, 2008 at 11:00 AM via web

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Is Paul a static character or a dynamic one?

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted January 23, 2008 at 8:50 PM (Answer #1)

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Paul is a very dynamic, complex character, so much so that this story is often studied from a psychoanalytical point of view in an attempt to understand this child’s problem. He neither dresses nor acts like a normal child his age, as we see in the first paragraph when he walks into the principal’s office “suave and smiling” dressed in clothes too fancy yet not fitting him properly: he had outgrown them. Such is Paul, in fact, for he fits into nothing at all, except the world of the theater, which is his “fairy tale.” The narrator explains that “in Paul's world, the natural nearly always wore the guise of ugliness [so] that a certain element of artificiality seemed to him necessary in beauty.” This is because he doesn’t feel he fits in, and also because his father wants him to be more, different--a typical, successful young man. The more he goes to the theater (where he is an usher), the more hateful school becomes. Finally, his father pulls him out of school, he is refused entrance to the theater, he is forced to get a job, but then he runs away from everything. In the end, he kills himself by throwing himself onto a train, a rather gruesome ending, but for him a way to drop “into the immense design of things” and escape forever the mundane world. Dynamic character? Yes, I think so, for his state of mind deteriorates significantly from the beginning to the end.

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