Why, in A Separate Peace, is it suprising that Elwin Lepellier is the first Devon boy to enlist?
Leper, as he is more commonly known, was different from the other boys at Devon. He was an introvert who didn't concern himself with the attitudes of the others, with the concerns and conflicts of the outside world, or with the opinions others might hold about him. Leper was comfortable in his own world.
They're ruining skiing in this country, rope tows and chair lifts and all that stuff. You get carted up, and then you whizz down...I just like to go along and see what I'm passing and enjoy myself.
Given that outlook, Leper cross-country skiied by himself as the others helped to dig the railroad station out of the snow so the troop trains could resume their travels. Leper daydreamed through Chapel services filled with patriotic speeches about the coming years and the sacrifices the boys would be making.
Leper didn't even consider what he would do to participate after graduating from Devon - until the day that he saw the recruitment film from the US ski troops. Watching the ski troops glide down the hills was a revelation for Leper.
Now I see what racing skiing is all about. It's all right to miss seeing the trees...when you've got to be in a hurry. And when you're in a War you've got to be in a hurry. Don't you? So I guess maybe racing skiers weren't ruining the sport after all. They were preparing it...for the future.
Having achieved this insight, Leper completely identified with and felt comfortable envisioning himself as a part of the skiing fighting force. True to his individualistic style, Leper took action immediately instead of issuing threats to enlist without following up on them like all the other boys.