A Separate Peace, a novel by John Knowles, takes place on the grounds of an exclusive, all male, New England high school during World War II. At the beginning of the novel, all of the boys were united by the common thread of being Devon School students. As the tranquility of the summer session ends, the boys of Devon find themselves facing difficult, life-altering situations. Through the personal crisis and tragedy, each boy at Devon School struggles to fine his own “separate peace.”.
Leper was the outcast at Devon, which did not allow him to find his ownseparate peace. For example, Leper joined recreational clubs to aid him in finding peace, but was not successful. He played Blitzball, which was an invention of Finny. It had no rules and every man was for himself; Leper was still ignored. The Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session was another way Leper tried to stay peaceful with himself, but he never did jump out of the tree the way the other boys did. This too made him an outcast. Also, Leper tried to connect with nature for peace. He went “touring” as he liked to call it. He would ski while enjoying the winter landscape. Leper searched for birds, beaver dams, and other nature related things. When he found a beaver dam with no beavers, this was symbolic of Leper not finding his separate peace. Lastly, because war invaded Devon School, Leper decided to join the ski troops. At school the boys were shown propagandistic movies about the war. Since Leper was interested in nature, the ski troops caught his attention. He was a victim of propaganda, but was later dismissed for a section eight discharge due to mental unfitness. This prohibited Leper from finding his peace either. Being an outsider made it hard for Leper to find his separate peace, which he never did find through friends, himself, or war. .
Gene struggles through his years at Devon School to find his separate peace, but does not reach peace within himself until he grows older.