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It is important to understand that Elwin Lepellier’s nickname—Leper—is indicative of his status at Devon. A shy loner and a social misfit, Leper is unable to relate to his classmates and finds satisfaction only in the beauty and serenity of the natural world. Gentle and sensitive, Leper accepts derision without complaint, and he sometimes tags along with the other boys, present but not participating in their activities. Leper’s only relationship at Devon seems to be with Gene, who accepts Leper and his eccentricities. Leper’s life takes a dramatic and tragic turn when he enlists in the army, innocently believing he has found a way to serve in the war that speaks to the “naturalist” he is. His romantic illusions are destroyed soon after enlisting. Because Leper cannot function in the military, he suffers a mental breakdown that leaves him angry, bitter, paranoid, and delusional.

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