The theme of individuality takes an odd twist with the story of Major Major. Major is among the most mediocre of men, as the narrator reveals, distorting an old adage about "greatness": "Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major Major it had been all three." That is just fine with Major Major. He would like nothing more than to be lost in the crowd. Life has dealt him a series of practical jokes that make his desire impossible. The first is that he bears a "sickly resemblance" to a movie star of the time, Henry Fonda. The second is that Major's sadistic father secretly named his son "Major Major Major" as a cruel joke on the boy's mother who, too weak from childbirth to detect the lie, was told that the name was Caleb. When Major started school, he discovered that he was not who he thought he was.
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