A lot of the descriptions in the story "Paul*s Case" make my heard broke. To me, the main theme of the story is not just an issue on juvenile delinguince, but it is about one*s looking for a reason to exist and one*s wondering what could be called "living".
Paul, as a so called bad case, was not accepted by the industrial society then, which was so material. Paul who seemed to live in his own fairy-tale world , loved beauty, luxury and everything in guy color. He loved to be an usher in the concert hall, where he could be surrounded by those unimaginable splendor and immerse in those romantic atmosphere, where he could be so vivacious and animated as though he were a host of a great reception, though, indeed, he was only an usher.
In contrast, where Paul really was from was opposite to his fairy tale world. To Paul, his home was such a prosy, monotony and dull place. He had a strong loathing toward everything people lived in Codilia street valued high, such as work, family. It was a living environment where Paul always had "a shuddering repulsion for the flavorless, colorless mass of everyday existence; a morbid desire for cool things and soft lights and fresh flowers; however it WAS the environment where Paul exist; a fact that he could not denied, and could not escape. Paul was like the narrator described "the Genius in the bottle". He was restricted, and he had no way out.
The thing one under great restriction and self-conflict could do is unimaginable and this may explain what made Paul has the courage to escape to New York with stolen money to sustained his value of life and finally committed suicide.
It was true that Paul was not a realistic and diligent person and he did not pay much to earn what he wanted. He chose to, what we said, "go astray", which is not even be agreed with in our society. However, to think about the question in another aspect that there were not many people who could sustained one*s realistic world and achieve the ideal one at the same time.
At the end, Paul he himself realized that his escape is a losing game in the end -- "It seemed this revolt against the homilies by which the world is run." The nine days in New York was like the flower in the glass case, to Paul, and "it was only one splendid breath they had, in spite of their brave mockery at the winter outside the glass." Somehow, instead of feeling regret, to Paul, "it had paid indeed."
Paul*s story reminds me the "joker" in Josten Gaarder*s book "¯ÈµPªº¯¦±K" in some way. We are all the immense design of things of God. It is not a good thing to know the secret behind our existence, I think. Really, it is not.