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In a rather remarkable way, Leper becomes more important and is taken more seriously by the boys once he has left and gone to war. He is a symbol of the heroism and interesting deeds of war, a representation of all the brave and wonderful successes of the American troops. Their support of "Leper" is another way to show patriotism and feel involved in the war, without having to face the harsh realities involved in the real events. A telegram comes for them from Leper; he says he has "escaped," and needs them to meet him and help to bail him out of whatever trouble he is in. Finny and Gene are absolutely shocked that their friend has deserted, and are determined to meet him and help him out.