ASP Cause and Effect Essay
Prompt: Speculate as to why Leper breaks down.
In the book A Separate Peace, John Knowles justifies the occurrence of Leper’s breakdown through a series of reasons; the prime being his personality. Leper is very philosophical and he tends to put deep thought into the simplicities of life. This trait leads Leper to enlist in World War II on impulse because he has a false pretense about what to expect from engaging in warfare. He automatically assumes war is a perfect fit for him and that he might as well get it over and done with. In addition to these traits, Leper uses the war as a way to finally feel important and as an opportunity to find a true friendship. Leper’s theorist mindset is not the proper fit for those who wish to fight in a world war.
Leper has a strange way of looking at situations in life. He has a tendency to take a simple thought and turn it into something bigger than it truly is; he creates his own complex theories that only he can truly understand. When Leper tells Gene, “... skiing had to learn just as fast [to evolve] or it would have been wiped out by this war. Yes, sir. You know what? I’m almost glad this war came along. It’s like a test, isn’t it, and only the things and the people who’ve been evolving the right way survive,” ( pgs. 116-117) he is formulating his own metaphors about war that confuse Gene. Leper enjoys living freely, he prefers taking a path most choose to avoid. This way of thought is the sole cause of Leper’s inability to conform, which in turn jeopardises his stability when entering an environment where each and every action he takes is an order given by a higher power.
Assuming war to be effortless, Leper decides to spontaneously enlist. He reasons that eventually the war is going to come for him, so instead he joins by his own will. “The ski movie had decided him, ‘I always thought the war would come for me when it wanted me...I never thought I’d be...