A Separate Peace


Cast of Characters

Gene Forrester—The first person narrator of the novel, Gene provides the tale within the framework of retrospection. As a young man of 30, he has returned to Devon School with no other apparent motive than to vividly recall the days of his formation there. As a boy of 16 to 18, Gene experiences fear, envy, love, hatred, violence, and ultimately forgiveness—all of which lead finally to his maturity.

Phineas, a.k.a. “Finny”—Finny is the most popular boy in school, a natural leader with the greatest athletic prowess the school has ever seen. Yet, Finny is also an antiestablishmentarian. He cares nothing for records or rules. His joy is in actively “preparing” for the war by doing and encouraging fits of daring and danger. Unlike Gene, he has no malice, and his only enemy appears to be tyranny.

Elwin “Leper” Lepellier—Leper is a boy who mainly keeps to himself. He is a dreamer and goes sightseeing while the others shovel off the train tracks in the winter. Surprisingly, he is also the first boy in the class to enlist. Unfortunately, he is duped by the propaganda shown by the recruiter and led to believe that the Army will be as depicted in the recruiter’s film. Leper collapses under the strain of Army life and is soon AWOL. He asks for Gene’s help, but Gene is too troubled by Leper’s behavior to be of any use to his old classmate.

Chet Douglass—Chet is at the head of the class. He takes his studies seriously because the subjects are genuinely interesting to him. Unlike Gene, who takes to his studies only so as to excel at something in which Finny is deficient, Chet pursues academics not for the glory of awards but for the love of knowledge. This, Gene observes, is also Chet’s drawback. Gene believes that to really excel one must be indifferent to the activity.

Brinker Hadley—Brinker becomes the natural leader after Finny breaks his leg. Full of vigor and...

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Essays About A Separate Peace