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"A Separate Peace" Leper Essay

612 words - 3 pages

In The story "A Separate Peace" by John Knowles, a minor but vital character, Leper, reflects the impact of war on a fragile, innocent, young man. As he leaves for the war, the boys at Devon look to him as a heroic figure. Then the story takes a disappointing twist, Leper returns and brings a part of the war home with him. Youth and adolescence, interrupted and destroyed, his mind, incapable of handling and accepting the brutality of the war, becomes un-puzzled."You saw Leper?" Gene asks in an uncertain voice. "I saw him here this morning... Anyway... then I knew there was a real war on," Finny acknowledges. Without him knowing it, Leper takes a harsh front of the warfare and repeatedly uses it as a reminder to Finny ...view middle of the document...

It seems that Leper had been set up to fail in the war since the beginning of the novel. He shows continuous signs of weakness and fragility under stress. When Finny pressures him to jump from the tree, he becomes frozen and can't. Then, when the ball was tossed to him in blitzball, he refuses it. Therefore, there is a sense that Leper will not make it in the war nor in basic training for it. This proves Leper to be a necessary character in the story because of his predominantly adolescent side of him. We watch a young man still trying to mature, get thrown into war and be devoured by its viciousness. Then we devastating see him crumble in the arms of the world's cruelty.Leper led to the rebirth of Gene, and the death of Finny. During the "trial" held for Finny to reveal the truth of his fall Brinker brings fourth a character that has all the conformity sucked out of him. He can no longer lead himself to believe that Gene didn't push Finny out of the tree; his thoughts have been sharpened rather then distorted to conform things into a much kinder "realistic" version. Leper discloses the truth, killing a part of Finny inside. But what's Finny's lost seems to become Gene's gain. When Finny dies a sinister side of Gene is demolished. Gene affirmed about Finny's funeral, "I could not escape a feeling that this was my own funeral." Even though Leper let out a wanting lie, he brought in a much needed truth.A fundamental character in A Separate Peace, Leper carried a momentous theme to the novel. He brings in a vital view of the war and significant "truths". Without leper the novel would not have as much meaning.

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