| Quote #1
I remember standing at an end window of our Quonset hut for a very long time, looking out at the slanting, dreary rain, my trigger finger itching imperceptibly, if at all. I could hear behind my back the uncomradely scratching of many fountain pens on many sheets of V-mail paper. (4)
This brief passage instantly debunks any myths we may have of eager, gung-ho soldiers who can't wait to see battle – these soldiers are bored, not looking forward to fighting, and more interested in writing letters home than singing war songs and looking forward to action.
| Quote #2
I told her that I'd never written a story for anybody, but that it seemed like exactly the right time to get down to it.
Of course the narrator is getting better acquainted with squalor – after all, he is in a war, and, in this story, war = squalor.
| Quote #3
"Goodbye," Esmé said. "I hope you return from the war with all your faculties intact." (103)
This seems like a faintly grim thing to say – as though the best to hope for is returning with one's faculties merely intact. However, Esmé doesn't mean for it to be interpreted this way; coming from her, it's the equivalent of "Good luck!" However, we can't help but think of it the first way, which is fairly accurate.