in A Separate Peace, where does symbolism accure in chapters 8, 9 and 10? i need one from all 3 chapters! =)

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A Separate Peace does contain several symbolic elements (the rivers, for example), but it isn't overly symbolic.  In the three chapters you mention, the overriding symbol seems to me to be the war which is looming on the horizon...or is just around the bend...or is a shadow lurking behind every corner.  It's the ever-present symbol in the novel.  Here it's used differently in all three chapters.

In chapter 8 Finny returns to school, and all talk of enlistment ceases.  In fact, Finny's insistence that there is no war seems to take over the roommates.  Gene is training for an Olympics that will never happen, but in their world at this moment, there is no war and all is "normal."

In chapter 9 we discover Leper has enlisted.  Now the war is real; someone they know, a classmate and friend (of sorts), has joined it.  In an effort at even more denial, Finny engages everyone in the Winter Carnival--another temporary escape from the realities of war.  At the end of the chapter, though, Gene receives a dire telegram from Leper.  The war is once again a reality.

In chapter 10 Gene goes to visit Leper.  Theirs is a pivotal meeting for the events to come, we discover, but for this chapter it's a reminder that war is here and war can destroy.  It has changed Leper into a crazy man, and it can do the same to others. 

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A Separate Peace

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