When Franz leaves, demanding his payment by the next day, Emil sinks into a deep depression, showing little bravery or conviction, and even considering suicide: “I thought of running away and never coming back, or of drowning myself.” (11) The complexity of his thoughts is of a remarkable depth, considering his young age and relatively uneventful upbringing. He simply desires to return to the “good, happy, [and] carefree” childhood he led before this shattering experience (14). However, he realizes with dismay that even if all returns to normal, his path will “lead farther and farther downhill into darkness” (13), the repercussions of his actions are irreversible, and the life he wants so badly will be lost forever. Although it seems as though Franz and his orders represent the main source of conflict for the protagonist, the amount of self-reflection that Emil undergoes allows us to understand that the struggles he is dealing with are internal. This leads him to not seek advice from his beloved parents. The author’s thoughtful writing allows us to explore Emil’s frightened mind as we see him believe that he “stands at the parting of the ways” between good and evil (13). Because his reflections are so thorough and detailed, we can clearly depict Emil as a lost pre-teen, desperate for help but unable to even come to terms with his own actions. Our understanding of him is particularly enhanced when he describes the objects in his living room, and realizes that they are “breaking away” from him (14), along with the world he knew. A focal part of the Social Responsibility Competency Overview is the ability to solve problems and to “identify when to ask for help”, but Emil’s refusal to seek advice from his parents does not make him a character to emulate in this situation. Having been in similar predicaments as Emil, I have always chosen to confess to a person of greater wisdom, and would try make the same decision again if I were him.