As is true of almost every narrative, there are always hints of what is to come and "Leiningen Versus the Ants" is no exception. In the expostition of Stephenson's story, the contrast between the Brazilian official who feels that the ants are "elemental--an act of God" and Leiningen, who repudiates what he considers an unthinking, emotional response, declares,
"Act of God, my eye! Anyway I'm not going to run for it just because an elemental's on the way....I use my intelligence, old man"
foreshadow the action to come. As the title also suggests, the developing plot will be about Leningen's intelligence against the "elemental" natural plague of ants that march towards the coffee plantation. It will be the classic battle of Mind vs. Matter. And, the official's description of Leningen's "obstinacy" also suggests that Leningen will not willingily succumb to adversity, but he also may have underestimated his enemy.