The novel focuses on Henry’s concern about dying without recognition versus achieving public glory. Within the first few pages, Henry appears vain and self-centered. His idea of glory falls short of the Homeric heroes whom he praises, for he lacks their requisite sense of duty. He does not consider earning or proving himself worthy of public recognition nearly as important as the recognition itself. So long as he is met by smiling girls and appreciative men, he is content to think of himself as a hero. However, as the possibility of battle draws closer, and Henry begins to question whether he deserves the accolades he desires, both Henry and the reader are forced to question traditional understandings of such abstract concepts as glory, cowardice and, of course, courage.

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