Kairos is a Greek word meaning the supreme and decisive moment in which action leads either to success or to failure. Scholars use kairos to help them discover[explain] the true meaning of their book. There is a kairos in every book. It just might be hard to find at first, but once you find the kairos then you will understand the book and its meaning more easily. Examples of kairos can be found in these three books: A Separate Peace, The Chosen, and American Cicero. Each of these books have kairos hidden in them, but it might not be easy to find.
The book A Separate Peace by John Knowles focuses on two best friends Gene, and Phineas, attending a military academy. Gene is an extremely intelligent student who strives to become the Valedictorian of his class, and Phineas is one of the most humble and best athletes to attend the academy. These two friends grew closer through many small steps, instead of one great act of kindness, or friendliness. The first example of their friendship building took place on a hot day, when Phineas wanted to break the rules and bike to the beach with Gene. Gene was hesitant at first, but his trust in Phineas led him to make his decision to go.
As a result of that decision, the two then had a spectacular time on the beach that day. Gene’s decision earlier that morning to go to the beach had a positive outcome and gave Phineas and Gene another opportunity good time to bond. The second example of kairos takes place when Phineas jumps from a high tree into a shallow creek and eventually convinces Gene to do the same. A reason why Gene jumped from the tree was due to his trust in Phineas. The small leap eventually lead Phineas and Gene to create a secret society together.
Anyone could join the society but they had to jump rom the tree as part of their initiation. To show their loyalty for their society Gene and Phineas jump from the tree before every meeting. The promise made represents the trust the two friends have for each other. Unfortunately, before the start of one meeting Phineas wanted Gene to jump off the small branch with him, at the same time. Gene agreed and when Phineas went to leap, Gene shook the branch, and, unfortunately, Phineas slipped and broke his leg, due to Gene shaking the branch. As a result of the accident, Phineas was unable to play sports again.
The accident was the kairos of the story, Gene could have not shaken the branch and everything would have been fine, but he chose to shake the branch. If it turned out to be a joke and Phineas did not get hurt then Phineas could have laughed about it. After the incident, when told to go to a secret meeting about the accident, Gene and Phineas went and met up with a multitude of other students. The two were asked several questions and eventually the crowd came to a decision and said that Gene shook the branch so Phineas would fall, Gene then said nothing to object.
Although the characters in the novel decided that Gene was guilty, the Author leaves the truth vague so the reader can decide on their own what happened. Hearing the group’s decision, Phineas was shocked and stormed out of the room, but he slipped on the marble stairs and did even more damage to his previously broken leg. Phineas had to undergo surgery and died in the process. The doctor did not know why, but he speculated it was due to a piece of bone marrow entering the heart. There are many steps leading up to the peak of the friendship between Gene and Phineas but.
Eventually the peak of their friendship was also the downfall of their friendship, due to Gene’s bad decision. The decision made by Gene, to shake the branch, turned out to be horrible, with even worse consequences. In addition to A Separate Peace, American Cicero by Bradley J. Birzer also represents kairos in many unique ways. The American Cicero is also known as Charles Carroll who lived in the mid 16th century. Charles Carroll was a senator from Annapolis, Maryland who was also the only Roman Catholic to sign the Declaration of independence.
American Cicero focuses on the steps taken and the decisions made that would later result in America’s independence from Britain. For America’s independence, there was not just a revolutionary war, but also a political battle. Many politicians thought it would be wise to stay with Britain, but Charles Carroll was not one of those people. In early 1776, Charles was chosen by Congress to go on a diplomatic mission to Canada, in order to seek aid from French Canadians during the ongoing battle with Britain. He went with Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase, and John Carroll (Charles Carroll’s cousin).
Charles Carroll was a great choice for such a mission, since he was fluent in French and also he was a Roman Catholic, and therefore well suited for the negotiations. Unfortunately the team did not accomplish their mission primarily because of the failure of the Invasion of Canada. By the time Charles Carroll returned from his trip the vote that would decide whether America should leave Britain or to stay with Britain had already been cast, but when it came time to sign the Declaration of Independence Charles Carroll was there and signed as a Maryland representative.
The kairos of the book was the diplomatic mission that Charles went on. Although it was not successful it showed other countries that America was strong in politics since America’s government made a good attempt in seeking an ally for the war. Finally, The Chosen is a book about two baseball players who become friends after a serious injury. The Two players are Danny Saunders, and Reuven. These two baseball players play on different rival teams, but become best friends after a injury sends Reuven to the Hospital. One example of kairos begins with a serious eye injury that sends Reuven to the hospital.
The injury took place late in the game when Reuven’s team was leading five to three, there was a lot of pressure for both teams to perform well, Reuven is the pitcher when Danny went up to bat. Reuven throws two balls and two strikes but Danny saw the next pitch coming then adjusted to the diving action of the curve. He deliberately swung low and crushed a line drive back toward the mound. Reuven brought his glove to his face to catch the ball, but his glove bounced back onto his glasses, shattering them and causing a serious injury to his eye.
Reuven is sent to the hospital where he is told he has a chance of losing his eye. Danny keeps trying to call Reuven to see if he is ok, and eventually visits the hospital. After talking for a while, the two former rivals, discover that they both have a strong desire to learn about their religion. A few years pass and Danny and Reuven still spend almost every day together studying about their religion but, Danny’s father starts an anti-Zionist program which makes Reuven furious.
Danny and Reuven go to college and do not speak to each other for around two years as a result of Danny’s father’s anti zionist program. Danny stops talking to his father, but his father uses Reuven to talk to Danny. Danny’s action of going to the hospital is the kairos of the novel, if Danny did not go to the hospital Reuven would have still hated him and his team. It was that decision and moment that changed the course for both of their lives. All three of the books contain a kairos in each one.
Some are in the same ways and yet some in different ways, but each book contains hidden information necessary for the understanding of the book. A Separate Peace focuses on the steps taken for the friendship between Gene, and Phineas, American Cicero focuses on the steps taken in order for America to gain independence from Britain, and The Chosen focuses on the rising friendship between Reuven and Danny and how their friendship rose [and almost fell. These three books always have different hidden messages, but the kairos is the message that makes the book unique.