Under pressure, Martin finds himself alone and not as excited as he had once been under Gottlieb. After Leora leaves and Clif is expelled, Martin feels alone, which, as was illustrated in earlier chapters, is not a state of being that Martin handles well. Martin has his faults: he takes to drinking, and his arrogance and impatience drive him to act in an improper and rude manner toward his mentor and his dean. It is apparent that Martin needs the humbling experiences he goes through now and again just as it is evident that in this, the story of his personal growth, he must wander before finding his way. For this reason, it is important that he wander throughout the states as a dishwasher called "slim," only to return to his two loves: science and Leora.
It is also important to recognize, prior to his being suspended, that although Martin still loves Gottlieb, he also is developing liking for Dean Silva. This is important because Gottlieb and Silva are opposites in their field: one is the laboratory man, and the other is the physician. Moreover, the fact that Martin likes both of these men illustrates the struggling aspects of his personality. It also illustrates that although his idols are continuously supplanted (Vickerson by Edward Edwards and Edward Edwards by Gottlieb, for example), they all have a lasting influence on his thoughts and in his life. There is no doubt that Gottlieb is the most lasting and the greatest of these influences, but that is not to say that the others are not important.