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Analysis Of Leper In A Separate Peace By John Knowles

990 words - 4 pages

"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' characterization of Leper being an outsider contributes to the theme of veracity because Leper makes the truth of the boys’ hostility evident.
Furthermore, the indirect characterization of Leper builds him up as a genuine character. Momentarily, Leper maintained a similar mindset that “the war would come for [him] when it wanted [him]”; however, his genuine characteristic protrudes from the surrounding beliefs when he decides he “[is] going to [to the war]” on his own (Knowles 125). Knowles’ wording of this minute quotation makes Leper’s attribute obvious because he willingly gives himself to the war. Leper’s ability to voluntarily bring himself to participate in the war is a direct representation of his genuine personality because he is able to put a secular matter above his own well being. Similarly, while the other characters push the war away in an attempt to stay detached from the war, Leper is “glad [the] war came along [because] it’s like a test (Knowles 125)”. Once more, Leper does not allow the other characters’ mindset of the war to sway his own mindset. Likewise, he does not let his differing mindset hold him back from exploiting his opinion in front of his peers. Leper’s choice...

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