First, we must define a role model. A role model is someone we look up to and admire. It is someone living a life we consideration worthy of emulation.
That being defined, it is somewhat difficult to determine solid role models in Paul D's tumultuous and violent life. A former slave, Paul D has had an unimaginably hard life and does not readily trust others. So, to appoint role models in Paul D's life entails some ambiguity.
Possible role models ro Paul D include Sixo, Mr. Garner, and Stamp Paid. For this response, we will analyze Paul D's relationship with Sixo, as well as Paul D's reflections on Sixo.
Sixo was a fellow slave at Sweet Home. He would walk thirty miles some weekends to see his girlfriend, another slave at a different plantation. When they were planning on escaping together, she was pregnant with his child, but Schoolteacher heard about their plan and punished them severely. Both Paul D and Sixo up were tied up. Paul D had to watch while they burned Sixo alive. Sixo was laughing, screaming "seven-o!" Six was possibly laughing at them because, unbeknownst to them, Sixo's girlfriend was pregnant with his child, and thus his legacy would be continued. Paul D's reverence for Sixo comes to the fore in Sixo's final moments:
Sprawled near Brother, his flame-red tongue hidden from them, his indigo face closed, Sixo slept through dinner like a corpse. Now there was a man, and that was a tree. Himself lying in the bed and the "tree" lying next to him didn't compare. (chapter 2)
Manhood and pride are very important to Paul D, and his view Sixo embodies these qualities.
Sixo's character and life make Paul D reflect on his own life. At the end of the novel, Paul D remembers how Sixo once said that his girlfriend truly understood him. This memory arguably leads Paul D to return to Sethe, finally understanding that he is meant to be with her.