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Paul fears his father, who shows little affection for his son. At one point Paul is afraid his father might “accost” him, and at another we see the father hold up as a model of behavior for his son a young man who is “ a clerk to one of the magnates of a great steel corporation”—in short, the very kind of person that Paul is not, indicating Paul’s father does not love his son for who he is. Paul is afraid to ask him for money, and the only reason he tolerates Paul’s job as an usher is that he thinks “a boy ought to be earning a little.” Paul’s father needed to foster a closer relationship with his son by asking him why the theater fascinates him so much, by taking him to some shows so that they could watch them together so that the father would understand why these fascinate his son. He needed to provide books that interested his child, for the reading material at home Paul finds boring and uninteresting. Rather than put him to work at his own company when Paul leaves school again, where people make fun of him, Paul’s father could have helped him find a job that would have been appropriate. In short, in all the ways we want our fathers to show love for us, Paul needed his father to show love for him: by understanding his son as an individual, by listening to his problems and not making fun of him, by finding time to do things together—all would have had a significant impact on Paul’s life.
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