Jerry is afraid of leading a mediocre life. He looks at his father, whose life is fine, but lacks passion, and he wonders,
"Was this all there was to life, after all? You finished school, found an occupation, got married, became a father, watched your wife die, and then lived through days and nights that seemed to have no sunrises, no dawns and no dusks, nothing but a gray drabness" (Chapter 9).
Jerry wants to believe in something and have the courage to stand up for what he believes in. He wants his life to make a difference.