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A Separate Peace

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

The two windows signify that Leper is serving in the war and that he has escaped from the army. In this chapter, Gene reveals his true feelings that he never had for Finny as a friend and brother. He reveals his true feelings when he says, "I felt no sense of loss. I felt relief." This statement shows that Gene's feelings were always different than those of Finny's. The author states in this chapter, "...there was something about him I never fully trusted or believed in." The reader finds out in this chapter that there was a part of Finny that Gene was not able to comprehend.

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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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