Why is the story called "Paul's Case"?

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This story is called "Paul's Case"; a case is a situation that seems to require some investigation or action, or it can refer to the actual object—or person—to be investigated or considered. The story is subtitled "A Study in Temperament," indicating that Paul is an interesting, even baffling, person, and that the circumstances of his life, and death, seem to demand some investigation. For example, Paul faces suspension for his "various misdemeanors" and yet arrives for his meeting with school officials wearing a red carnation for a boutonniere. He strikes the principle and teachers as being "peculiarly offensive" in his demeanor; it has a lot to do with his perceived "insolence." His drawing teacher says of Paul, "There is something wrong about the fellow." Paul appreciates concerts and beauty, and he is "always irritable and wretched" afterwards. He wants a life of luxury and gorgeousness, and he will do anything—even unscrupulous things—to attain it. He is not a monster, certainly, but he can do monstrous things. Such a person is an interesting case indeed, one worthy of our attempts to understand.

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The title "Paul's Case" immediately evokes the idea of some kind of court or psychiatric case. The story revolves around Paul, who does commit a crime. He steals money and travels to New York to live a life of richness and grandeur. When he is caught, he commits suicide rather than return to his average, dreary life in Pittsburgh.

But the theme of the story turns to what drove Paul to act in such a way. It asks the question, is Paul just a "bad case" who has a deviant personality or is he driven by the pursuit of the American dream? He loves culture and beautiful art.  So is he really immoral or just a person who loves illusion so much he loses his " grip on reality"?

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