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In a similar manner, Rick and Elizabeth are taken in by Pauls fabrications because his stories offer them a chance for acting parts which they crave. However, Pauls real self (a black homosexual in need of money) cannot be seen because their aspirations get in the way. In reality, once Paul has intercourse with Rick and takes all their money, Rick and Elizabeth cannot handle Pauls real colors or their own ones, character limitations or desires which they had been previously unaware. Art is definitely used as a metaphor throughout the play as a means of developing a conscious identity so that one is not paralyzed emotionally and physically in life. This allows one to use the imagination to develop to their greatest capability, once one recognizes their own limitations. Flan and Ouisa repeatedly tell Paul he has so much potential and the novel Catcher in the Rye is used as a way of explaining how an unaware consciousness (like that of Holden Caulfields) is a handicap of being an adolescent, and, that, to find ones true self and move past hatred one needs to become conscious of their imagination and its power as an internal force for change and not some external entity, The imagination has been so debased that imagination-being imaginative-rather than being the lynchpin of our existence now stands as a synonym for something outside ourselves (33). In other words, everyone around Paul is so paralyzed because of their external needs that they cannot understand his use of imagination as the only way he could link himself to an external reality that was not accessible to a man of his true nature.
Art and literature are the products of creative imagination, the inner most feelings, joys and pains of artists who create art as a bridge connecting this conscious inner reality with the conscious external reality. Ouisa gets closest to understanding this when she says near the end of the play that Flan doesnt understand that all Paul wanted was to belong, to belong where it was artistic, warm and comfortable. She even confesses that the life she and Flan have is not on that should be so desired by anyone, but Pauls reality viewed it as the closest he could get to belonging to other people. Only his imagination could connect him to this world, much as only the imagination, when used to self-examine our own natures can stand as the link between our inner self and the external reality of the world, And its the worst kind of yellowness to be so scared of yourself you put blindfolds on rather than deal with yourself (34). Paul could not handle his real condition in life, so he blindfolded himself and allowed others to think he was what he knew they would accept readily, as opposing to being brave and courageous enough to try to enter their world as himself, as an equal but not the same entity. The use of Sidney Portier is an excellent use of an artist who was able to break down barriers that separate people by being himself in the midst of a profession and world not readily accepting of black men. Instead of being himself and helping to break down the six degrees of separation that keep Ouisa and Flan from being able to truly relate to the plight of poor, black homosexuals, he pretends to be what they already accept. This actually serves to reinforce the very barriers that cause him to be what he thinks those he wishes to commune with desire, as opposed to being himself and perhaps actually achieving true community.