Paul Morel is the protagonist in the second part of the novel and goes through a steady decline. To say that he is a 'mamma's boy' is an understatement. In fact, it is his inability to separate himself from his mother that is an underlying factor in his decline. All of this relationships with women are based on an idealized version of his mother which none of them can measure up to. Paul is sensitive and artistic and when his mother dies, he almost does as well. He is so wrapped up in his own identity as based on his mother and her perspectives that when she is gone, he is lost. His struggle to 'find' himself and establish his own identity nearly undoes him.