Seryozha chats with the hall porter. He is merry: the next day is Seryozha’s birthday, and Karenin has just won an award. Seryozha daydreams about his father winning two awards even higher than the one he has won, and he has trouble concentrating on his lessons. His tutor doesn’t seem to be paying attention to him, and Seryozha wonders why adults always seem to push him away from them.
Seryozha is a sensitive, emotional boy who idolizes his father and reveres his mysteriously absent mother. He remains untainted by society, isolated in the world of his own daydreams. Yet somewhere in the back of his consciousness, he is dimly becoming more and more aware that he might be a pawn in adults’ social schemes, further highlighting the difference between the “honesty” of childhood and hypocrisy of much of adult society.