In A Separate Peace, what did Leper's telegram say? I don't have the book with me, and I'd like to know exactly what the quote said, with a page number if possible.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Since all editions have different page numbers, it might be best to give you the chapter instead. Leper’s telegram is found at the end of chapter 9. You will find it very quickly. Here are the words. In my edition, it is all in caps.

I HAVE ESCAPED AND NEED YOUR HELP. I AM AT CHRISTMAS

LOCATION. YOU UNDERSTAND. NO NEED TO ASK ADDRESS

HERE. MY SAFETY DEPENDS ON YOU COMING AT ONCE.

(signed) YOUR BEST FRIEND,

ELWIN LEPER LEPELLIER

The caps really do give the feeling of a telegram. This is where Leper becomes a deserter and leaves the military, and, even if the book does not say it, he is likely facing some sort of post-traumatic stress. This point is significant, because Leper is arguably the least likely to go to war. He is a timid, peaceful boy who loves nature. That he goes off to war shows that anyone can go. Also, it shows that the adult world outside can hit any of the school boys in Devon. Thus, Leper reminds the reader that there is war going on in the background, and no one can be immune to it.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Leper's telegram read:

I have escaped and need help. I am at Christmas location. You understand. No need to risk address here. My safety depends on you coming at once. Your best friend, Elwin Leper Lepellier

In the edition of the book I am using, this text is on page 129.

Obviously, Leper's telegram was sent while he was in a disturbed state of mind, filled with paranoia and anxiety regarding what he had seen and experienced since joining the military and what would happen to him now that he had run away from that commitment.

For the boys at Devon, the telegram was completely out of the character for both the Leper they had known as a schoolmate, the quiet, dreamy individual who never got excited about anything, and for the heroic warrior Leper they had created in their fantasies since he dropped out of school to enter the war effort. The telegram shocked them into considering the sober realities of what becoming involved with the war effort first hand might mean and how it might affect them.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial