A Seperate Peice Essay Research Paper Gene — страница 12

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begins, the other boys wrestle the cider away from Brinker at Finny’s prompting and break into anarchical carousing. Everyone seems intoxicated with cider and life itself, especially Finny, who performs a wild yet graceful dance on the prize table on his one good leg. Finny announces the beginning of the decathlon and has Gene demonstrate various feats of athleticism for the appreciative crowd. Brownie reappears from the dormitory with a telegram for Gene from Leper that says he has escaped and his safety depends on his coming at once to his Christmas location. Leper’s enlistment surprises everyone, although it is a logical step for him, as he is about to turn 18 and be drafted (and lose the option to pick the branch of the military he will serve). All the boys are looking

for a friendly facet of the War to cling to, and Leper’s comes in the form of a recruiting film for the ski troops. They appear very clean and natural in the film, as if tailored to Leper’s rural Vermont sensibilities. Leper’s talk of the necessity of progress and evolution surprises Gene, who wonders how it applies to him and Finny and all the others. Leper is the only person not to declare his intention to enlist with great fanfare, and he is also the only one who is really serious and actually does enlist. Gene thinks it would have been better for someone like Brinker to leave for the War, someone who would leave a noticeable gap in their lives to bring the War close to home; Leper’s absence was not as apparent and did nothing to make the effects of war seem more

familiar. Gene does not really believe Finny’s story that the War is a hoax, but he finds it hard to make any personal connection with the War because of his continued peace and happiness, which stands in direct opposition to his expectations of the confusion of the world at large. Joking about Leper as a major force in the Allied command is the only way for the boys to make the War seem close and personal. The boys secretly fear what lies hidden within them: they are afraid they will not succeed as soldiers, so the thought that Leper could shine so brilliantly comforts them and gives them hope that they might too. Finny stands outside this circle of concern (he even forgets at one point that Leper is gone), and draws Gene away with him into isolation. In the depths of winter,

when the weather has frozen everyone else’s spirits, Finny decides to extend his personal reality to the others for a while. At Devon, only those with a certain edginess and capacity for rudeness are said to have “personality,” a requirement for any sort of leadership position. Only Finny is able to lead without it, and when everyone else is disillusioned and lethargic (Brinker has resigned his leadership positions and fallen into casual carelessness), Finny brings them together to hold the carnival. Finny showcases here his talent for creating blissful chaos. The carnival is completely chaotic, and even “Brinker the Lawgiver” turns rebel with Gene’s conspiratorial glance. Everyone becomes wistful and carefree during Finny’s afternoon of “momentary, illusory,

special and separate peace.” Gene immediately sets out for Leper’s “Christmas location,” meaning his home in Vermont. He takes a train and then a bus, arrives in Leper’s town early the next morning, and then has to walk the rest of the way through the snow to Leper’s house. Leper stands at the window and beckons Gene on as he approaches, then bustles him into the dining room. Leper tells Gene that he deserted because the army was planning to give him a Section Eight discharge for insanity, which he says would prevent him from ever finding work or leading a normal life. Gene insults Leper, and Leper accuses him of knocking Finny out of the tree. Gene kicks Leper’s chair over, and his mother rushes into the room and explains that he is ill. Leper invites Gene to stay

for lunch, and he does. At his mother’s suggestion, Leper goes for a walk with Gene after lunch. Leper suddenly begins sobbing and tells Gene of his odd hallucinations at training camp, and eventually Gene cannot take any more and runs away. Gene digresses in his narrative at the beginning of this chapter to tell how he never got to the War–he joined just as the war was wrapping up and spent his time bouncing between cities in the United States. He would have been involved in the invasion of Japan (and probably killed) had it not been for the atomic bomb. He thinks of his dream- like trip to Leper’s house as the first of his wartime journeys. Gene concocts a farfetched story about spies to explain Leper’s telegram and hopes that Leper does not mean he escaped from the