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Even though Gene and Leper argue and are rather violent with one another. Gene realizes through Leper's admission of mental problems and failure in the military that Leper (and the other boys) are at war with themselves just like Gene has been throughout the novel. This is the beginning of Gene's being able to see that he is not at war with or even in competition against Finny--he must find his own "separate peace." The knowledge that others are outwardly showing signs of their inner struggles does not necessarily give Gene comfort, but it does provide a strange kinship of sorts between them.
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