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These chapters relate the experience of Philip at the preparatory King's School, which helps to prepare a boy for the ministry. As he accompanies his uncle to the school at Tercanbury, he is full of apprehension and feels self-conscious about his clubfoot. His uncle leaves him in the care of Mr. Watson. True to his fears, the boys immediately notice his deformed foot. Some of them take pity on him, while others mock him and even abuse him physically. He feels isolated because of his disability. When he is unable to bear the humiliation of his tormentors any longer, he cries and remembers his mother.
After a time, his deformity is taken for granted and ignored, but Philip still remains sensitive and withdrawn, avoiding participation in the boys' activities. He does excel, however, in his studies and wins several prizes. Mr. Watson appreciates his efforts and expects to secure him a scholarship for additional education. When the school is gripped with a religious fever, Philip joins a study group and starts reading the Bible everynight. He excitedly reads the words, "Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." Encouraged by the Vicar, he begins to pray fervently. He asks God to heal his foot and waits anxiously for the results. When no miracle occurs, Philip feels that his uncle has lied to him and loses faith.
School is a new experience for Philip. Having led a protected life in the past, he now becomes aware of the harsh realities of life. The students make fun of his clubfoot, making him feel ashamed and isolating him further. To avoid the taunts of the students, he visualizes his mother's presence, seeking her protection. He also escapes into his studies and excels. Maugham is able to give a very sensitive portrayal of Philip's pain and loneliness, because he experienced the same kind of isolation due to his speech impediment.
Philip craves companionship, affection, understanding, and sympathy. He longs to lead the life of a normal boy. When a student breaks his penholder by mistake, he concocts a story about its being a gift from his dead mother, hoping to win sympathy and acceptance. When he reads the words of Christ extolling the virtues of faith and the power of prayer to work miracles, he starts praying in earnest, asking God to heal his deformity. When his prayer is not answered, he loses faith. Philip realizes he will never escape his handicap and resigns himself to his sad situation .