He never quite fit into the local society of boys. He usually would not play with them. In school, he seemed an isolated, dreamy boy who didn't like rough play. One classmate found him "strange and conceited, without the usual interests of a boy." Another observed that he had no close friends, and that he seemed to prefer writing and illustrating stories to the more routine school subjects. He was lazy, too, and did not participate in class projects with any enthusiasm. A survey of his report cards, however, suggested otherwise. One report card, for example, reports "admirable" work in writing, drawing and arithmetic. He did, however, show a "lack of progress in grammar and language." Remembering his boyhood, he later said, "I never did like school and stopped going to school as soon as I got big enough to play hooky and not get caught at it."
The usual sports that attract boys did not interest him; naturally shy, he often stayed away from the playground except when he felt like eavesdropping. He was never popular, although most students considered him friendly and courteous. Certainly no one thought he was academically gifted. He did his homework in a halfhearted way, though his writing ability was such that he could manage without much effort. One of his teachers assumed that his mother was doing his homework for him.
At recess, he would stand apart from other the other children watching, seeming to study their movements, to listen to their voices, without reacting himself or wishing to particpate. His daydreaming in class made him a subject of ridicule among his schoolmates and did not endear him to his teachers. What he was dreaming about one can only guess, but it seems likely that he thought about heroism and glory, about crime, about human desire in its various manifestations.
As an adult he doubtless felt that he, as a boy, contained all of the contradictory possibilities of the human spirit within his heart.
From Jay Parini's book, "One Matchless Time: A Life of William Faulkner."