A Separate Peace

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A Separate Peace2

Breaking The Mold

In John Knowle’s, A Separate Peace, there is a transformation in all the key elements in the book, from the rivers to the tree to the seasons to the characters. The transformation is specifically seen in Leper, Gene, and Phineas. These three young men experience a change not just because of the transitions through adolescence. These changes also come about because of the war, the school, and an injury.

Leper Lepellier is a very odd young man. He is quiet and is finds himself always taken by surprise. He really is not popular and that does not concern him in any way. Leper really has no true friends at the Devon school, but talks to Gene. He entertains himself by collecting snails, looking for beaver damns, and skiing. His personality does not allow him to depend on anyone for help. As time progresses and the other boys start the winter session he decides to enroll in the war. A couple of months later Gene receives a telegram from Leper saying he is in his “Christmas location” This is the first sign that Leper demonstrates that he needs people. He realizes the happiness, fear and anger have to be shared with others. Leper then tells Gene “I escaped”

and he says he did it to please himself. He is starting to realize things that are going on in the world. He no longer lives in his bubble.

Gene Forrester is a quiet, envious, introverted, and lonely young man. His insecurities are especially seen when Finny is around. There is a constant rivalry through Gene’s eyes between them. He always chooses to compete or argue with Phineas. The first example of his competitive personality is seen when Phineas asks him to jump out of the tree. Phineas says, “you were very good, once I shamed you into it. .. I am good for you that way. You have a tendency to back away from things otherwise.” and Gene states “you didn’t shame anybody into anything. I never backed away from anything in my life.” Gene would have never jumped off the tree if it were not for Finny. Gene depends on Finny as his security blanket. As time progresses the rivalry increases and

the tension in Gene’s head is gets worse. When Gene can not take anymore of Finny and his

abilities his jealousy takes control and he jounces the limb.
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