As the novel progresses, Henry comes to the painful realization of his own insignificance in the grand scheme of the universe—as his mother tells him in Chapter I, he is “jest one little feller amongst a hull lot of others.” When the marching troops come across a corpse, Henry feels “the impulse of the living to try to read in dead eyes the answer to the Question.” “The Question” is never articulated, but the answer, which Henry moves closer and closer to learning, has much to do with understanding the modest and fragile proportions of one’s life and the meaning of honor. Crane uses passing moments such as Henry’s memory of his mother’s advice and this first encounter with a dead soldier to plant some of the novel’s larger ideas in the reader’s mind. The narrative’s major thematic concerns, such as the irresolvable tensions between self-preservation and the impetus to behave honorably, begin to be defined.