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How would Paul feel if his brother died?

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Jonathan Beutlich, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The answer to this question is subjective, so each reader can freely explain why Paul would feel a certain way. I also don't think that Paul would feel only a single emotion. Erik is a certifiable bully. He held Paul's eyes open so that a buddy could spray paint his open eyes. That's not just mean. That's sadistic. Paul is genuinely afraid of his brother, and his brother uses that fear to his advantage. I think a very likely feeling would be a feeling of relief. If Erik dies, that sense of fear dies with it. Not being afraid anymore would have to be a huge relief. I do think that Paul might experience some sadness too. However mean Erik was, he was still family. I think that a small part of Paul might feel saddened at the loss of a family member, but I don't think it would outweigh the feelings of relief. Paul also might feel some joy and happiness. For his entire life, Paul's parents have worshiped the ground that Erik walks on, and now his parents will be forced to give Paul some of that attention. Paul could certainly feel happy about that. Finally, I believe that guilt is going to be mixed in there. Paul is smart enough to know that he shouldn't feel relief and joy at the death of a family member; therefore, he likely would feel guilty for having feelings he knows he shouldn't have.

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anthonda49 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Paul would feel relieved if his brother died; then, he would feel guilty. All Erik has ever done is torment Paul and his friends. Erik is an arrogant, sadistic boy whose parents never disciplined him. As the first born and a talented kicker to boot, Erik has his dad believing that his son could become a college stand out and possibly a pro. Dad doesn't see Erik beyond those hopes. Mom is more aware of Erik's shortcomings, but she, too, does nothing about his behavior. Paul is afraid of Erik, but he doesn't know why. He only knows that his vision suddenly went bad when he was five. He has flashbacks that involve Erik having something to do with his poor sight, but until the end of the book, he doesn't know what the connection is.  If Erik were to die, then Paul would not be bullied again. But, he would feel that his should mourn the loss of his brother, even if it were just for the sake of family.

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