“His own head was unbent for his thoughts wandered abroad and whether he looked around the little class of students or out the window across the desolate gardens of the green an odour assailed him of cheerless cellardamp and decay.”
Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: Oxford UP, 2000. Print. 149.
The verbs and adjectives suggest that Stephen would rather look at the bigger picture than details that he would be taking in during class but still feels that regardless of where he is, it makes no difference.