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In the novel A Separate Peace, what is the contrast between the two windows at leper's...

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cullengirl190 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 10, 2011 at 2:23 AM via web

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In the novel A Separate Peace, what is the contrast between the two windows at leper's house?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 10, 2011 at 4:04 AM (Answer #1)

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In Chapter 9 of John Knowles's A Separate Peace, Phineas receives a telegram from Leper telling Finny that he has escaped and needs help.  Gene takes the telegram from Finny, "facing in advance whatever the destruction was."  Knowing that no soldier "escapes" from the army, Gene realizes that Leper must have escaped from something else.  So, he makes the journey to Leper's house in Vermont, thinking perhaps that Leper has escaped from spies.  As the Lepellier house is outside town, Gene must walk to it over the hills.  As he approaches, Gene sees a house resting on the top of a slope with long and narrow windows "like New England faces," Gene observes.  In one of these windows, there hangs a star that signifies that a son of the house serves in the country, and behind the glass of another, there stands Leper. 

The contrast of the two windows creates a contradiction of meaning regarding the house.  For, the star indicates that a son is serves in World War II which is waged in Europe or in the Phillipines, not, certainly, in Vermont.  That Leper stands in another window clearly suggests, not only a contradiction, but something very problematic.

 

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