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When Henry informed his mother that he was leaving to go to war, he was upset with her reaction. He expected a huge dramatic scene with his mother in tears and begging him to stay home. To his dismay, Henry received a stoic response, in which his mother told him to simply be careful. It was evident through the subtly of his mothers response that she was overly upset by her sons decision, and chose to support him as a good mother would. Henry was too busy worrying about the dissatisfying reaction from his mother to realize that she was hurt and distraught. This example is just a beginning to the selfish thoughts that pollute Henry’s mind.
Henry was overly obsessed with obtaining a high reputation on the battlefield. He hoped that an impressive performance during battles would immortalize him as a hero among the rest of the soldiers. Henry holds his head high throughout the entire beginning of the novel, and while he makes mistakes, he does not blame it on himself. Also, Henry ran away from battle, which ends up with one less person in line to fight. Henry was not thinking of the other soldiers he put at risk when he fled, but only his own fear and life. Although he was just one soldier, one soldier can make a difference. When Henry fled from battle, afterwards he blamed it on the other soldiers who did not follow in his footsteps. He found them to be fools for not protecting themselves from death as he did. In order to further increase his high self-image, he faked a wound. Getting hit in the head by the butt end of a rifle is not a hero like quality, so he went along with the lie of getting shot. Luckily, the unsuspecting soldiers believed that a bullet grazed his head, and the bump on his head wasn’t the only factor to how huge Henry’s head looked.
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