The protagonist Richard was sent from his family to tell his uncle that his grandpa had passed away. But his uncle was sleeping and he had just woken him up, instead of being shocked or sad, the uncle just tells him that he needs to learn how to bring news to people appropriately.
I walked home slowly, asking myself what on earth was the matter with me, why it was that i never seemed to do things as people expected them to be done. Every word and gesture I made seemed to provoke hostility.
This paragraph is an excellent example for the main purpose of this book, demonstrating how he never really felt comfortable because he never truly belonged somewhere. He sees the problem in himself, although his problem only lies in his innocence, not recognized by parents and other main characters in the novel.