What are some internal and external forces that affect Paul in "Paul's Case"?

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kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An internal force that Paul battles within himself is his desire to be what he truly wants to be versus what others want him to be.  Paul's true desire is to live in New York and be a successful performer, but there are many factors that prevent him from doing so until he steals money from his employer and runs off to New York on a whim. He is clearly unhappy at school and gets into trouble, which eventually gets him expelled.  Afterwards, he is forced to work by his father.

External forces are others in his life and expectations to behave a certain way.  His father stifles Paul's dream to be an "artist."  This causes problems for Paul because he knows his father would never agree to let him go to New York to pursue his dream.  This drives Paul to do the unthinkable; he steals money from his employer and takes off for New York.  After depleting the money he had and feeling that he can never go back to living the way he did, he commits suicide.