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Research paper topic: A Separate Peace: Chapter 1 - 5662 words
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.. truth, the shadowy, elusive truth of an instant that is already beginning to fade in memory. Gene is about to make a full confession--or he thinks he is--when Dr. Stanpole and the nurse arrive. The following day Finny is sent home to recuperate.
The summer session comes to an end, appropriately enough for Gene, for until now summer had represented freedom, sports, and running outdoors, with Finny as the light and life of it all. Now all that has changed. A month later, after a sojourn at home, Gene heads back to school for his senior year. On the way he makes a detour to call on Finny. NOTE: The "surprise" reunion is no surprise to Finny, who appears to have been waiting anxiously in hopes his friend would come.
For Finny, their allegiance still thrives. Gene has yet to understand just how much Finny needs him; he is still unable to stop idealizing Finny in one way or another, unable to stop making him into someone he really isn't. Gene's own muddled self-image makes it continually difficult for him to perceive Finny in a clear light. They trade small talk for a while in Finny's living room. Gene is ill at ease in the plush, sedate surroundings. He is out of his element and wishes they were back on campus.
"It was there that I had done it," he reflects, sitting opposite Finny, "but it was here that I would have to tell it." A burning need to confess has been smoldering within him for a month. Once again he seizes the time. "I jounced the limb. I caused it," Gene tells Finny. "I deliberately jounced the limb so you would fall off." Finny does not want to believe this, and as soon as the words are out of his mouth, Gene regrets having said them.
Gene is still uncertain, and he realizes that in confessing to the deed he has hurt Finny even more deeply. In a subtle, emotional way, he is planting the seed of doubt in Finny's mind at a time when the invalid has no way to distract himself from turning Gene's words over and over in his thoughts. For every step forward he takes--coming to Finny's home, confessing to the crime--Gene takes a step back, regretting his words, finding a way to be off to school in order to escape into his hopes that somehow the situation will resolve itself. But it's not that simple. If you were Gene, what would you do? Every reader of A Separate Peace has to ask himself that question.
^^^^^^^^^^A SEPARATE PEACE: CHAPTER 6 The return to school in the fall is always an occasion of mixed emotions. There's the promise of new ideas to be learned and new friendships to be made; at the same time, there's the threat of new intellectual pressures and new teachers who may have higher or different expectations of us. And for seniors there's a question mark; where do I go from here? For the senior boys of Devon School in the 1942-1943 academic year, the question of military service looms large. Hurried into manhood by the war, most of them will have to defer their university plans until after they have contributed in some way to the war effort. Returning to school without having Finny around is especially painful for Gene, We've learned enough about the depth of their connectedness to be able to feel Gene's estrangement from his surroundings, even as the masters strive to maintain continuity and tradition by sitting in their customary pews and singing the same hymns in chapel on opening day. Gene finds something oddly appropriate about singing Dear Lord and Father of Mankind Forgive Our Foolish Ways, as if it had been planned expressly for him.
No matter how determinedly we try to hold on to these precious days, summer gives way to fall, 16 gives way to 17 and 18, junior year gives way to senior year, childhood gives way to adulthood. And in wartime these phases have a way of becoming accelerated beyond our control. For Gene this bittersweet time is marked by Finny's absence; the gap a leader has left cannot be filled easily. NOTE: Here the author introduces us in greater detail to some other boys who, while Finny was around, seemed little more than cardboard figures in the background of Finny and Gene's struggles. Now that the picture has been dramatically changed, we turn our attention to this supporting cast of characters.
New life is breathed into Leper Lepellier and Brinker Hadley (who rooms across the hall from where Gene now lives alone), and we meet Quackenbush, manager of the crew team. Even as we come to know the other boys in this second phase of the story, the memory of Finny remains vivid. As Gene makes his way to the Crew House to report for his first day of duty as assistant senior crew manager, he pauses by the river to recall the sight, in happier times, of "Phineas in exaltation, balancing on one foot on the prow of a canoe like a river god, his raised arms invoking the air to support him, face transfigured, body a complex set of balances and compensations." His memories of Finny do not torture Gene the way the sight of Finny himself, swathed in bandages, had done. Why has Gene decided not to go out for a sport but to sign on as an assistant manager? Is this his way of doing penance and not violating Finny's sacred position as the ultimate athlete? Quackenbush (no one uses his first name, which is Cliff), the senior crew manager, has already formed a judgment of Gene based on Gene's taking the assistant manager job: clearly the boy's self-image has suffered a shock. But, Gene tells us, "I knew his flat black eyes would never detect my trouble." What sort of trouble do you suppose this is that cannot be seen by the naked eye? And how sincerely do you think Gene wants to escape the atmosphere of competition at Devon? Is it ever possible to avoid competition in school? Gene would prefer to suffer his guilt in silence, to perform the menial tasks of fetching towels and water buckets, gathering oars, helping to bring the lightweight shells onto the shore, without anyone bothering him. Quackenbush, however, will not tolerate such independence.
He goads and teases Gene, clearly picking a fight. We all know people who can't get through the day without conflict of some kind, and Quackenbush is one of those types. He presents yet another test for Gene, and it is in meeting rather than avoiding tests that one grows and develops as an individual. John Knowles reminds us of this over and over again in A Separate Peace. The Quackenbushes of this world are at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Finnys.
In responding to Quackenbush's taunts--"Go to hell Forrester. Who the hell are you anyway" and "Listen, you maimed son-of-a-bitch"--Gene makes a quick statement about where he stands. He lashes out in anger and, he realizes soon after the fight, in defense of Finny. Imagining Finny's presence, his indomitable spirit and his faultlessly positive attitude, gives Gene the courage to fight back. Gene's action is the "first skirmish of a long campaign," the first step toward a rebuilt sense of self-confidence. Can it be that Finny is an even truer friend when he's not around, when Gene can draw on an idea of him for inspiration without becoming confused by Finny's larger-than-life example in the flesh? Finny is very much on Gene's mind as he straggles damply back to the main campus and runs into Mr. Ludsbury, the teacher in charge of his dormitory.
Mr. Ludsbury reprimands Gene for his sloppy appearance and lays down the law about gambling at night--which makes Gene feel even more guilty. He accuses Gene, who as a senior should know better, of "taking advantage" of the relaxed summertime rules. Gene just stands there, reflecting on what might have happened last summer if he had "truly taken advantage of the situation," that is, if he had understood the sincerity of Finny's friendship and not done what he did. A long-distance telephone call awaits Gene in Mr.
Ludsbury's study--not bad news from home, as Gene fears, but Finny's cheerful voice welcoming him to the start of a new school year. Evidently his invalid friend has been thinking of him, too. As far as Finny is concerned, he and Gene are still roommates, and he is relieved to hear that his side of the room remains unoccupied and ready for his eventual return to Devon--a sign there's still a place for him in Gene's heart as well. "God you were crazy when you were here," Finny tells Gene. Has he decided once and for all that the incident at the tree must have been an accident? Gene's resolve is shaken. He would like to believe he did not act intentionally.
Finny is shocked and dumbfounded to learn that his friend has signed up as assistant crew manager. Gene doesn't tell Finny that he interprets Dr. Stanpole's pronouncement that "sports are finished" for Finny as meaning there will be no more sports for him as well. In this way he denies himself the pleasure of sports and apologizes for what has happened to Finny. But Finny does not accept Gene's position: "If I can't play sports, you're going to play them for me." At that moment it dawns on Gene that the two of them are tied together inextricably. He can no longer distinguish who is Finny and who is Gene.
Not even a fall from the tree can tear them apart. ^^^^^^^^^^A SEPARATE PEACE: CHAPTER 7 Appearance means a lot at a school like Devon. Clothes play a big part in A Separate Peace, and the way the boys dress gives you clues about their personalities (remember Finny's pink shirt?). Gene is clothes-conscious, mindful of how Finny would respond to something he decides to wear. Appearances mean more than clothes. Brinker Hadley, the self-styled leader of the class in a more conventional way than Finny was, takes on more stature in Finny's absence. Even though he has a two-room suite and a frightened roommate who gives him plenty of elbowroom, Brinker still envies Gene's "solitary splendor." Brinker measures Gene's current status--one boy in a room meant for two--as a threat, and for Gene this means one more battle he must fight in the aftermath of Finny's departure.
Brinker stops by, supposedly to chat, but in fact he is bent on questioning Gene's privileges. Brinker even accuses Gene of conspiring to make sure that Finny does not return to school so that he will be able to keep his single room! Brinker's probing questions strike at the core of Gene's abiding sensitivity and guilt about what happened in the summer. Gene tries to change the subject by suggesting a trip to the Butt Room, a dingy place in the dormitory basement where boys are permitted to smoke. NOTE: Brinker refers to the Butt Room as "the dungeon," and this may very well suggest yet another image of Gene's guilty feelings. What will it take to free him? Does he really want to make a confession in front of his peers? It's important to bear in mind Brinker's role here as one of bringing Gene to justice.
He thrusts Gene into the Butt Room and announces to the assembled boys, "Here's your prisoner, gentlemen," accusing Gene, half-jokingly, of "fratricide." Now Brinker is driven to find out more about what happened at the tree. He acts partly because he envies Finny, and Gene's ascendancy through him, which makes his own position at the top a little shaky, and partly because competition is the name of the game at Devon. If you don't strike out at others first, they may plot behind your back to advance themselves at your expense. The school may be isolated, but in its social makeup it contains many elements of the "real world." Unfortunately, the boys won't realize this until much later in life; in Gene's case, that realization is the reason for his telling the tale we are now reading. The Butt Room is a sinister place where boys put on suspicious attitudes.
Behind their pretended inquisition style there is deadly seriousness. Gene would risk incurring the wrath of the others if he didn't play along with their "game." "We know the scene of the crime," Brinker says, "high in that.. that funeral tree by the river." "Tell us everything," a younger boy urges. It is clear that stories and rumors have been circulating at the school in that special way gossip gets passed around, changed, and interpreted. Because of the pecking order we discussed earlier, one boy's fall by a notch can mean another boy's rise by an equal notch. Gene manages to squeeze out of the game by turning the tables fiercely and then breaking off to go study French.
Time is on his side. As autumn dispels the last mists of summer, school days become more intensified and the boys turn to immediate and more serious matters--"tomorrow bristled with so much to do." It appears that no one really has the time to dig deeper into the Finny affair. The war and the encroachment of winter likewise serve to dull the memory of that fateful summer, to Gene's relief. The first snowfall, when it comes surprisingly early, is another contribution to summer's obliteration. NOTE: Have you ever thought about the way weather can set a mood? In A Separate Peace the shift of seasons and the change in weather it brings play a very important part. For a sensitive boy like Gene, the turning year means a turn in his mood.
He delights in summer, dreads winter; he revels in the temporary suspension of school rules and regulations during summer session, and he regrets the return to routine in the fall session. Summer is a time of outwardness, but winter's snow "clamps" the boys in, allowing them more time to study, think, and reflect. That isn't always helpful for someone like Gene who already spends so much time in his thoughts. Two hundred boys are recruited to help shovel snow from the railroad yards in a nearby town, in aid of "the war effort," and they trudge off to perform their civic duty. Leper Lepellier remains behind, buried in his notebook. Preoccupied as usual with the small happenings of nature, he goes cross-country skiing by himself. Do you see an obvious significance in Leper's name? He is the outcast, a small, shy, introspective boy who often stands apart from the crowd and seems not to care what others think about his reclusive behavior.
Gene is on his way to help with the shoveling when he comes across Leper in the countryside and asks him, "Where are you going?" Leper replies, "Well, I'm not going anywhere. I'm just touring around." Leper reminds us that there doesn't always have to be a direct purpose and usefulness to our actions, that some things can be done simply for the sake of doing them. NOTE: Let's bear in mind little Leper's mild presence and the way in which he is so often taken for granted by his classmates, who overlook him time and again. He's there on significant occasions, and sooner or later his presence will figure importantly in the story, when we least expect it. Leper and Gene part.
One shoves off on ski poles in search of a beaver dam, the other trudges away "to help shovel out New England for the war." How do you think Gene really feels about his lot in life at this moment? Do you suppose there's a part of him that would rather take Leper's path, to seek and find and do what he really wants, instead of following the herd? How important to Leper are the opinions of others? And how important are they to Gene? At last the boys of Devon free a group of passenger cars that turn out to be troop trains filled with young men of about their age, who cheer as they roll past. The boys have made it possible for one more group of soldiers to continue on their way to war. No one knows what to say about this dubious achievement except that it points up the contrast between being part of the war and not being part of it. The day's work brings the war home to the boys in a new way. Returning to the school, they talk among themselves about the war and its growing distraction for them. Their studying for exams and going out for sports seems suddenly absurd, useless, and downright wrong.
For the first time, they begin to talk seriously about enlisting in the armed forces. The option of not waiting out the senior year has presented itself through the sight of those young, enthusiastic troops and through thoughts of older brothers already in service. There is also the thought that the boys of Devon might not have any legacy for following generations if they do not seize the time and become fighters for freedom. Each boy, aware that these are perilous times, must confront the prospect of having to make a great decision. Percolating within Gene is the half-concealed desire to make a sharp break with childhood and the troublesome events of the past few months. To enlist in the army would accomplish that in one stroke.
As they approach the dormitory the boys run into Leper. Gene feels responsible for defending Leper's independent actions that day. He understands the worth of Leper's choice, and most likely he envies it; he envies anyone who has the courage of his convictions. Gene believes he does not possess any deeply felt convictions. Can we agree with this harsh self-evaluation? Leper passes on into the night.
Brinker is sharply critical of Leper and, by extension, of the school as a whole. He is impatient to make a move. "I'm giving it up," Brinker blurts out to Gene, no doubt inspired by what he has seen that day, "I'm going to enlist. Tomorrow." Brinker's announcement is the spark that sets Gene's resolution on fire, liberating all his half-formed fantasies of escape as a way out of the mess. "Not that it would be a good life," Gene concedes.
"The war would be deadly all right. But I was used to finding something deadly in things that attracted me." NOTE: Do you wonder if Gene's immediate realization that this is the destiny he's hungered for all his life is in fact a veiled desire for death, the ultimate punishment for what he's done to Finny? He bears down on the decision under the cold light of a starry winter night sky. It still seems right to him. Gene can think of no earthly reason to persevere on his current path. Life at Devon has been meaningless since the destruction of the summer.
Maybe he has nothing to live for: "I.. knew that I owed no one anything. I owed it to myself to meet this crisis in my life when I chose, and I chose now." Gene is resolved and at peace in his decision. He has finally taken a step on his own, a step as momentous as a baby's first step, a step toward learning to walk without holding on to anything, independent of aid, single and forthright. Gene returns to his room, filled with a self-confidence and buoyancy he's never had before--and finds that Finny is there, awaiting him with the old, familiar grin.
^^^^^^^^^^A SEPARATE PEACE: CHAPTER 8 Finny is overjoyed to see Gene again, desperate to get back into the school routine and pretend nothing unusual has happened. Perhaps Gene's friendship means more to Finny than he thought--more than any of us thought. Sometimes it takes a prolonged absence from another person to permit one to appreciate that person with greater insight. Finny watches with affection as Gene undresses. Gene revels in the spotlight of Finny's unbroken attention.
That night Gene says his prayers with exceptional care. What do you suppose he is praying and wishing for? What is he thankful for? Notice Finny's vitality despite his invalid condition: "He was sitting up in bed" the next morning, "as though ready to spring out of it, totally and energetically awake." Yet he reveals his new dependence on Gene when he says, "Hand me my crutches, will you?" NOTE: Gene is more conscious of Finny's disability than Finny is. We've talked about Gene's guilt; he has taken on quite a burden. Despite his joy at Finny's return, he still must cope with his abiding memories of the accident, and he's reminded of it every time he looks at Finny. Suddenly Brinker bursts into the room. The last time he'd seen Gene, in the aftermath of the snow shoveling, the two of them had resolved to enlist together. Now, with Finny's return, Gene's plans waver.
Because Brinker is an impulsive person, he tends to barrel ahead with whatever's on his mind, without a care for obstructions. He has convinced himself that Gene conspired to get rid of Finny, and now he sneers that the "plot" has failed. Finny is mystified; an embarrassed Gene tries to clear the air by explaining away and shrugging off his resolution of the previous night. With his support dwindling, Brinker too is relieved to back away from the plan to enlist. At the core of their being, these boys fear the war. Wouldn't you? They grapple with it as a concept they don't quite understand.
Seeing a group of young men, like them, packed into troop trains, and cheering them on, is by no means the same as being one of those young men on a train headed for an unknown destination. The best-laid plans are dissipated in an instant as Brinker, Gene, and Finny indulge in early morning schoolboy horseplay. Gene has a revelation, one that springs forth out of a growing instinct: "Phineas was shocked at the idea of my leaving. In some way he needed me... He wanted me around.
The war then passed away from me, and dreams of enlistment and escape and a clean start lost their meaning for me." Can we place Finny and all he represents in direct opposition to the war and all it represents in Gene's mind? So Gene retreats into the sanctuary of Finny's friendship. The accident has brought the two boys even more closely together. NOTE: As we read of Gene's newfound peace of mind, we wonder how much he may have been searching for a way to cut down the competitive tension he had felt during the summer, and whether he thought the only way to reduce that tension was to bring Finny down to a less forbidding stature. As for Finny, we wonder whether he has ever been aware of himself as a threat to Gene simply by virtue of his prowess and natural skill. The story is fascinating because the more we read forward, the more we need to think back, to reevaluate past events in the light of new discoveries.
Gene begins to care more for Finny, to serve as his guide, trailblazer, and vigilant companion. Earlier, Gene had said he felt like he was "part of" Finny. His friend's infirmity is his, too; as they walk from building to building, Gene is painfully aware of the traps and pitfalls that wait for a person who can't completely control his movements. And every movement of Finny's reminds Gene of the way his friend used to be, how graceful and easy his steps once were, not so long ago, when he moved "in continuous flowing balance." Finny's stride may have changed, but his old instinct for disrupting routines obviously has not. By appearing at school he has already broken Gene's resolution. Now, on the wintry afternoon of his first day back, he suggests they cut class and go to the gym, the temple of sports, Finny's ideal then and now.
On the walk to the gym Gene sees how Finny pushes beyond his limits, suffering with every step, determined not to reveal his pain. Here is yet another reminder that there's a difference between how we see ourselves and how others see us--a theme of central importance to this story. This is a time in life when we're very concerned about our own self-image, and that's just as important for Finny as it is for anyone else. But Gene penetrates Finny's facade because the boys are so much closer now. He sees Finny's weakness because his friend is "a poor deceiver, having had no practice." Why do you suppose Finny wants so much to go to the gym, to sit in the locker room with the sports equipment and dirty uniforms scattered about, the smell of sweat and exertion hanging in the damp air? It must be a bittersweet moment for him as he rests breathless on a wooden bench, surveying the once familiar surroundings. To have been a great athlete and to know in your heart that for you "sports are finished" must be difficult to accept once and for all.
"You're going to be the big star now," he says, turning to Gene, as though he were passing the baton to him in a relay race. "You can fill any gaps or anything." What does Finny mean by gaps? Is he talking about Gene as his successor, grooming him to take over the athletic spot he had occupied? NOTE: Finny is fighting with all his being to rebuild his world. He wants Gene to snap out of his guilt and depression, to stop punishing himself, and to take on new motivations. He wants to give Gene a constant pep talk that will turn him away from thoughts of war and the crew team. Because he has suffered, Finny reveals, he now has the right to take on more authority. Just when we think Gene is guiding Finny, Finny turns around and exercises considerable willpower over Gene. Each boy is reaching out with new threads to bind him to the other.
Gene grasps a chinning bar, and Finny tells him, "Do thirty of them." Gene obeys as if he were the Finny of the past. Finny informs Gene he's going to coach him for the 1944 Olympics. And why not? Hasn't Finny always been a dreamer, an untiring creator of imaginary worlds, the boy who's never been able to accept things as they are? Gene gives himself over in service to Finny, and Finny in turn applies his influence to raise Gene as if he were his child more than his pal. A comforting aura descends upon the story now that so much agony and tension are gone. Gene and Finny nurture each other; Gene tutors Finny in academic subjects, Finny tutors Gene in athletics. There's a new double direction to their relationship.
Gene flowers and grows. One morning, just before Christmas break, the boys are out early for their workout. Finny leans against a tree, supervising Gene's four laps around the quadrangle. For the first time, Gene gets what runners like to call a "second wind," a breakthrough moment when you're feeling tired one second, then it's as if you were just starting to run. Finny notices it too, and he points it out to Gene as a sure sign of self-awareness, not just a matter of physical strength.
Up to this point Gene has always been a divided person, concentrating on developing his mental abilities at the expense of his body. Finny, the wise one, knows the importance of strength in both and sees the goal fulfilled now in Gene. Finny is not embarrassed about telling Mr. Ludsbury, who has been secretly observing the boys, that Gene is "aiming for the '44 Olympics." As far as Finny is concerned--and much to Mr. Ludsbury's dismay--the war has nothing to do with their training program.
Finny could care less about the war. "He's really sincere, he thinks there's a war on," Finny says in "simple wonder" of Mr. Ludsbury. How much more satisfying life is when all acceptance of war is banished from the mind! A Separate Peace is as much a novel against war as it is a story about friendship. ^^^^^^^^^^A SEPARATE PEACE: CHAPTER 9 It is fitting that Leper Lepellier becomes the first boy to enlist, for "No real war could draw Leper voluntarily away from his snails and beaver dams," Gene says. The senior boys are solicited during the winter months by members of the armed forces recruitment teams, and of course Finny persists in joking about fabricated propaganda films that, he says, show "Finnish ski troops," not American combat skiers.
But Leper is drawn in. At last he has found a connection. He likes to ski; there's a need for skiers in the war. Before we know it Leper is gone, still several weeks shy of his 18th birthday. Finny will not let Gene indulge in the remotest thoughts about the reality or nonreality of the war, even in the aftermath of Leper's enlistment, when the Butt Room is filled with gossip.
Finny, engaged in an all-out campaign to deny war, drags Gene further and further away from accepting it and even from associating with the other boys. It's as if the "separate peace" Finny strives to create in every waking moment is meant for himself and Gene alone and can work only when the two of them are behind it 100 percent. NOTE: All of us have experienced moments in a friendship when we feel that our best friend is the only person who truly understands. Finny is extending that faith to a much greater territory, and he wants Gene to share fully in his exclusive view of the way of the world--a world without war. Games of "let's pretend" are natural to childhood, unheard of in adulthood; Gene and Finny hang on to their games as long as possible because they know what it will mean when they are forced to abandon them.
Their desperate fight to keep childhood alive within themselves helps to explain Finny's invention of the Devon Winter Carnival. This is yet another distraction, one that comes as an inspiration on a bleary, gray Saturday in the aftermath of Leper's departure. It's Finny's way of distracting everyone from the encroaching threats of war, of protecting his pals by not allowing them time enough for reflection. Finny discovers it's no longer as simple as it was in the days when his authority held sway. The other boys do not share Finny's ready ability to sink into fantasyland.
Nevertheless they go along with him. But Brinker, struggling to maintain his equilibrium, shows signs of giving in to the obsession of the war. "Who wants a Winter Carnival?" he asks. "What are we supposed to be celebrating?" Bit by bit the darkening tenor of the times descends upon Devon. Were it not for Finny's indomitable spirit in fighting his private battle and never conceding its absurdity, the war would have taken a greater toll by now.
Boys will be boys. On the Saturday planned, everything is in place, including jugs of hard cider and a classroom table strewn with prizes: Finny's icebox, a dictionary, a set of barbells, a copy of the Iliad, a file of Betty Grable photographs, a lock of hair, a rope ladder, a forged draft card. Despite his seemingly passive position as he sits deep in thought behind the prize table, Finny is still in charge. There is no set schedule for the carnival proceedings. Nobody knows exactly what to do or what is expected. "Twenty boys, tightly reined in all winter," are milling around, waiting for the go-ahead from their leader.
Brinker has lost his bravado since Finny's return, and it is increasingly clear that Finny's presence creates difficulty for him, that in some sense he feels usurped. Brinker is paralyzed, probably because he doesn't really think the time is right for frivolity. "What's next? Phineas!" Brinker cries out, in desperation as much as challenge. "You are," Finny finally replies, and, as if on signal, all the boys jump on Brinker. It's a revolution, a riot more than a carnival, a chance to let off the steam that has built up through frustration and powerlessness in the face of world events, day after day of reading newspapers and listening to the radio and wondering what is really going on in the world of "fat old men making decisions" about slender young men who are fighting and dying overseas.
With a gush of hard cider, Devon's First Annual Winter Carnival becomes not an organized schedule of competitive events but an all-out drunken brawl, Finny's "choreography of peace." "It wasn't the cider which made me surpass myself," Gene tells us, "it was this liberation we had torn from the gray encroachments of 1943, the escape we had concocted, this afternoon of momentary, illusory, special and separate peace." NOTE: Observe carefully Gene's choice of words. He knows how fragile and transient the atmosphere is, and he knows that his destiny approaches in the guise of a telegram from Leper that will bring home once more a war that simply will not let him ignore its foreboding presence. ^^^^^^^^^^A SEPARATE PEACE: CHAPTER 10 We learn about a character in a story by comparing that person with other characters. We've already had ample opportunity to consider how Gene measures up to Finny. And we've observed Gene's new, if shaky, friendship with Brinker--a moody, boisterous fellow who in some ways is more typical of his age than Finny (at one extreme) or Gene (at the other).
Now what do we make of Leper Lepellier? Are you surprised to read of his desertion from the army and secret retre.
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