Paul's Case is about a young, Calvinist man who did not feel that he belonged in his life. He lived on Cordelia Street in Pittsburgh, PA. Cordelia Street was littered with cookie cutter houses, suburbanite-like city-dwellers, and a general aura of despair. Paul's room was no different. Paul felt that his abusive father, uncaring teachers, and classmates who misunderstand him aren't worthy of his presence and company. One of the reasons Paul may not have fit in was because there is a chance that he was learning disabled.
Paul worked at Carnegie Hall as an usher. It is here that Paul's real love lies. Paul lost himself in the music of the symphonies, the characters of the plays, and in the artful scenery. Paul also enjoyed gallery art, as evidenced by the hours he spends in an art gallery, staring at one painting, before his shift at Carnegie one night. He became lost in seemingly all forms of creative expression, whether it is a floral arrangement in a shop window or an orchestral swell at the beginning of a symphony. It is at Carnegie Hall that Paul became struck by the glitter and the starlight of the stage. He was not star struck in the sense that he wanted to perform in any way, he was simply content to observe others' performances. He is struck in the sense that he wants to live the way the characters in the plays do. He imagines them living to all the extent of their money, glutting on beautiful music, art, and life.
Paul, unfortunate for him, was, either reacting to the unfair treatment of him because of a learning disability, or else he was both a chronic liar and a rather disobedient student. He wanted everyone to realize, as he thought he had, that he did not belong among them, and is only in their presence because he wanted to as a personal, "inside" joke. He told his classmates that he was a close personal friend with all of the actors, divas, and performers who graced Carnegie's stage. To back up his claim, he brings in autographed photographs of the particular performer who happens to be the topic of the day.
One day, he got a bit too full of himself and boasted that he will leave school for the day because he was needed elsewhere, specifically at Carnegie to help the stock crew (stage hands). This boast caused the principal of...