He was a dead man with a mind that could still think. He knew all the answers that the dead knew and couldn't think about. He could speak for the dead because he was one of them. He was the first of all the soldiers who had died since the beginning of time who still had a brain left to think with.

This quotation, also from Chapter x, discusses Joe's unique position as someone on the edge of both life and death. This borderline status is simultaneously the tragedy of Joe and the novel, and, as we see in this quotation, what makes him special and gives him hope. Because Joe is nearer than anyone else living to death, he has the authority to talk about death firsthand and to potentially make people change their minds about what they perceive to be worth dying for. In this regard, Joe's tragedy also makes him both a leader and a prophet.