He decided to live a secluded life.
Fame can be tiring, especially if you’re exposed to it at a young age. Shortly after graduation, William told reporters that he wished to live the “perfect” life, which according to him, was one of seclusion. He also added that he intended to never get married since women did not appeal to him.
In addition to undesired fame, his decision also reflected the pressure that he faced since birth. During that time, America believed in turning kids into prodigies with the right education. Being a gifted psychologist, William’s father was keen on making his son shine as bright as a star. To achieve that, he applied his own psychological approaches to raise his son and pushed him. Even though William enjoyed learning as a child, his opinion changed as an adult and he blamed his father for it. When Boris passed away in 1923, William refused to attend his funeral.
He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Like geniuses usually do in order to maintain a low profile, William worked low paying clerical jobs. Even so, he’d still get recognized by people, leaving him no choice but to switch his job again. In 1924, reporters discovered him working a $23-a-week job which made headlines again, only this time they mocked his intelligence and said he was no longer capable of doing what he did as a child. This, however, was not true as throughout his life, William wrote multiple valuable books using different pseudonyms.
He was a socialist and an objector of World War I. He was, in fact, arrested in 1919 for a protest which turned violent in Boston where he was sentenced to prison for 18 months. However, his parents found a way to keep him out of jail and locked him up in their sanatorium for 2 years instead.