Analysis of Leper In A Separate Peace by John Knowles

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"Truth: the most deadly weapon ever discovered by humanity. Capable of destroying entire perceptual sets, cultures, and realities. Outlawed by all governments everywhere. Possession is normally punishable by death." John Gilmore's perception of truth portrays a view extremely relative to the novel, A Separate Peace, by John Knowles. Knowles creates a theme of veracity in animus within the novel and supports it through the unique character traits of Leper. First and foremost, Knowles characterizes Leper as a vulnerable outsider through his actions, words, and character as a whole. As opposed to other characters within the novel such as Chet Douglass and Bobby Zane, Leper often "[does not] argue or refuse. He [does not] back away. He [becomes] inanimate" when a situation demands his input (Knowles 17). The surface of this characterization may leave one with the impression that Leper's defensive mind, or lack thereof, creates a disadvantage for him. However, Leper's attribute works in his favor, as well. Leper's ability to remain as a part of the situation, but refrain from letting his own opinion be exposed allows him to examine the characteristics of the other characters in the novel. Consequently, as Leper studies his peers, he notices they struggle against a "hard fight to win... [to avoid] making fun of [Leper]" because of his way of carrying himself in a different manner than the others (Knowles 96). Leper's tendency to appear as an outsider creates temptation for the other boys to make fun of him, and thus displays the characteristics in which Leper becomes aware of. The boys’ want to tease and demean Leper is apparent to him and exposes the truth in which Leper reveals to be the enmity, which the boys possess. Knowles' cha... ... middle of paper ... ... manner. Therefore, Leper contributes to the theme of veracity directly by using his honest and truthful characteristic to make the boys’ hostile way of life apparent to not only the reader, but the boys themselves. On the whole, Knowles not only constructs Leper with common characteristics, but makes him utilize his attributes in such a way that affects the novel severely. Leper's few appearances in the novel are vital and play an extreme role in the theme. Leper is characterized as an outsider with a genuine mindset and honest nature and these attributes affect the truth in animosity by allowing the truth to become apparent to the characters themselves. Works Cited Knowles, John. A Separate Peace. New York: Scribner, 1959. “Truth, Honesty, and Lies Quotes.” Tentmaker. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2011. http://www.tentmaker.org/Quotes/truthquotes.htm>.

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