The boys have many of the fears that any group of sixteen and seventeen year olds who are pretty confident they will be headed for military service in the near future would have. They were afraid of how their lives would change, concerned about how they would react to the unknown of a completely new setting and lifestyle. "...we wondered whether we ourselves would measure up to the humblest minimum standard of the army."
They were afraid of being left out of the action; they were afraid that there wasn't really any action or glory to be had. When Leper became the first to enlist, they were afraid to admit how they felt about his departure. Later, they were afraid of facing how the time in the military affected Leper, particularly since the military was waiting for the rest of them. "...if Leper was psycho it was the army which had done it to him, and I and all of us were on the brink of the army."