Paul despises his teachers at school. He is indifferent to their teaching and tries hard to make them aware of his disdain for them in "polite ways." For instance, he wears a "red carnation in his buttonhole" on the day that he attends the hearing of his disciplinary case. Through...
Paul despises his teachers at school. He is indifferent to their teaching and tries hard to make them aware of his disdain for them in "polite ways." For instance, he wears a "red carnation in his buttonhole" on the day that he attends the hearing of his disciplinary case. Through the carnation, he hopes to send the message that he is not bothered by his suspension from school and that he still is the "every day Paul." He is rude to his teachers and does not attend to his lessons well.
Paul hates common things. He has a "shuddering repulsion for the flavorless, colorless, mass of everyday existence." He likes "cool things and soft lights and fresh flowers." He particularly likes the arts—theater and music. He loves working as an usher at Carnegie Hall: it is here that he really comes to life. He is a “model usher,” for he loves to play host. He is to be seen running up and down his section of the concert hall, talking to visitors, passing on programs, and being the most helpful usher in the entire hall. He also loves to listen to the symphony, not just for its sake, but because it represents genius and a freeing up of the senses.
In spite of his adoration for the arts, he is not interested in a career in any field of art: "He has no desire to become an actor, any more than he has to become a musician." He aspires to live a glamorous life: traveling to big cities, living in big expensive hotels, wearing expensive clothes, and eating exotic food. Yet, he does not want to work hard at achieving this kind of life. When he is not able to reform into a good student at the school, his father withdraws him from his studies and makes him take up formal employment. He does this for a short time before he decides to steal money from his employer to treat himself to the glamorous things in life, if only for a short time.