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A Separate Peace
Transcript of A Separate Peace
Book is autobiographical
Knowles attended Phillips Exeter Academy, a prestigious boarding school for boys in New Hampshire and was the inspiration for Devon High School
He modeled Gene Forrester, the narrator, after himself
Phineas was inspired by Knowles' exceptionally athletic friend at Phillips Exeter Academy
Wrote book to work through issues he wrestled with as a student during WWII
WWII was a burning issue with Knowles and his classmates Plot Characters Gene Forrester Gene
Narrator and protagonist
16 years old
Student at Devon
Straight A student
Hopes to become Valedictorian
Thoughtful, intelligent, competitive nature
Best friend and roommate of Phineas
Also friends with Brinker and Leper Phineas Phineas
Best friend and roommate of Gene
Class average of C
Persuasive, Honest, handsome, self-confident, disarming, extremely likable
Best athlete in the school
In short, he seems perfect in almost every way (except his grades)
Talent for engaging others with his spontaneity and sheer joy of living
Frequently gets into trouble, but he has the ability to talk his way out of almost any predicament
Never perceives anyone as an enemy, and never strives to defeat others
Relishes pure achievement rather than competition
His fatal flaw is that he assumes that everyone shares his enthusiastic and good-natured spirit Brinker Hadley Brinker
6 feet tall
Athletically built, but no athletic ability
Charismatic class politician with an inclination for orderliness and organization
Nosy and rude; wants to know everything about everyone
Very straight-laced and conservative
Complete confidence in his own abilities
Tendency to carry his ideas through with startling efficiency—at times even ruthlessness
Unlike Finny, Brinker believes in justice and order and goes to great lengths to discover the truth when he feels that it is being hidden from him Leper Lepellier Leper
Class "loner", quiet, different
Great at remembering detail
Mild, gentle boy
Adores nature and engages in peaceful, outdoor-oriented hobbies, like cross-country skiing
Not popular at Devon but seems to pay no attention to such things
Although least likely to enlist, enlists first into the army, but military life proves too much for him, and he suffers hallucinations and a breakdown.
Gets discharged from the army because he goes crazy during training for ski troops Themes Literary Devices Guilt and Innocence
After Gene jounces the limb and makes Phineas fall, Gene feels guilty about it for 16 years until he comes back to Devon as a 32 year old. Gene lost his innocence when he made Phineas fall, and will never gain it back.
Gene claims in the novel that we all identify enemies in the world around us. We go against them so as to have an object for our hate and fear.
Wars, both personal and political, are thus "the result of something ignorant in the human heart," an inability to understand the self and others.
Gene believes every human being goes to war at a certain point in life, when he or she realizes that the world is a fundamentally hostile place and that there exists in it some enemy who must be destroyed.
The novel implicitly associates this realization of the necessity of a personal war with adulthood and the loss of childhood innocence.
Summer Session - Innocence and Youth
Winter Session - Encroaching Burdens of Adulthood and Wartime
Phineas's Fall - Transition from Summer Session to Winter Session - Figurative Fall from Innocence
WWII - Arrival of Adulthood to the Triumph of the Competitive Spirit Over Innocent Play and Conflict and Enmity
Gene jouncing the limb - Gene Jouncing to Self Awareness
Phineas - Peace, a Separate Peace Foreshadowing
Page 11 Gene descriptively talks about the marble stairs where Phineas will fall the second time.
Page 12 Gene and Phineas are at the pool talking about school records. This foreshadows Phineas breaking the school record. Alliteration
Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session Flashback
Gene tells the story at age 31, describing his life at Devon at age 16 Imagery
Vivid descriptions of: Marble stairs, Tree, Devon River, Naguamsett River Verbal Irony
"If you broke the rules, then they broke you" Simile
"So the war swept over like a wave at the seashore."
"The leg in its cast was like a sea anchor dragged behind" Historical Context 1942
Political - WWII; United States at War against Japan, Germany, and Italy
Social - Patriotic attitude among Americans
Cultural - Lots of young men enlisting, many war-related jobs
Economic - Just coming out of Great Depression; War Time; Rationing Relation to the World "A Separate Peace" relates to the world because many friendships include jealousy, just as Gene was jealous of Phineas's athleticism and his popularity, and Phineas was jealous of Gene's academic achievements. There will always be the "Phineas" of a friendship or school - the friend/classmate who seems to be perfect in everything and liked by everyone. And there will always be the "Gene" - the friend/classmate who isn't as perfect, who is insecure and jealous, and often times goes against their best friend out of jealousy. "A Separate Peace" perfectly describes the jealous-filled relationships of people. People in the world are always jealous of others, and we all want what we don't have. Everyone will create enemies for themselves of the people they envy, and go to war against them to make them feel supreme. There will always be an internal war inside people. Recommendation "A Separate Peace" was an alright book. It was a quick, easy read that held my attention, but I feel like the ending killed the book. The whole book leads up to Phineas's second fall and his death. However, I felt his death was completely - one hundred percent - stupid. This book was so cool! But then, boom. The bone marrow leaked into his blood and killed him. That's it. All 193 pages lead up to his death by bone marrow. Phineas was such a perfect, hip, enthralling character, that in my opinion, he should have died in a interesting, slow way - not abruptly and by some random misfortune! Just wow. Bone marrow? Come on. The ending should have been better than it was. I would have liked to see him jump out of the tree again before he died.
Despite the fact that the ending was horrible, I do still recommend this book because it probably relates to you and your friendships, it was short, and it made sense. Bibliography External War
The book focuses on the impact of war on the lives of male adolescents, none of whom have yet engaged in combat. Despite their lack of direct involvement in World War II, boys who were not quite of draft age were often preoccupied by the American war effort. As Gene Forrester in the late 1950s reflects on the impact of World War II for him, "The war was and is reality for me. I still instinctively live and think in its atmosphere." The American war effort impacted everyday life in more general ways. For example, as Gene recalls, "Nylon, meat, gasoline, and steel are rare. There are too many jobs and not enough workers. Money is very easy to earn but rather hard to spend, because there isn't very much to buy." How to Save a Life
- The Fray Step one you say we need to talk
He walks you say sit down it's just a talk
He smiles politely back at you
You stare politely right on through
Some sort of window to your right
As he goes left and you stay right
Between the lines of fear and blame
And you begin to wonder why you came
Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life
Let him know that you know best
Cause after all you do know best
Try to slip past his defense
Without granting innocence
Lay down a list of what is wrong
The things you've told him all along
And pray to God, he hears you
And I pray to God, he hears you REFRAIN
As he begins to raise his voice
You lower yours and grant him one last choice
Drive until you lose the road
Or break with the ones you've followed
He will do one of two things
He will admit to everything
Or he'll say he's just not the same
And you'll begin to wonder why you came
How to save a life
How to save a life
How To Save A Life by The Fray Plot
Setting - 1942 (WWII) at the summer session of Devon High School (all boys boarding preparatory school) in New England
Gene Forrester returns to visit New Hampshire's Devon School after a fifteen-year absence. He recalls his complex relationship with his roommate and best friend, Phineas. Phineas makes up a new, dangerous game where one jumps out of a tree branch into a river. Phineas persuades Gene to do a double jump with Phineas out the tree. They climb up, Phineas first, Gene behind him. While standing on the tree branch, Gene slightly bends his knees, shaking the branch. This causes Phineas to fall out of the tree onto the ground (not the river) and shatter his leg. Phineas's sports career has now ended.
Phineas is at his house resting, and Gene visits him to tell Phineas that he shook the branch on purpose. Phineas refuses to listen. All the boys are surprised when Leper Lepellier becomes the first one in their class to enlist. Gene and Finny go on training for the Olympics. A telegram arrives for Gene from Leper, saying that Leper has “escaped” and desperately needs Gene to come to his home in Vermont. Brinker, who has harbored suspicions that Gene might have been partly responsible for Finny’s accident, wants to prove or disprove them definitively. He organizes an after-hours tribunal of schoolboys and has Gene and Finny summoned without warning. The boys on the makeshift tribunal question the two about the circumstances surrounding the fall. Gene sneaks over to the school’s infirmary that night to see Finny, who angrily sends him away. The next morning, he goes to see Finny again, takes full blame for the tragedy, apologizes, and tries to explain that his action did not arise from hatred. Finny accepts these statements and the two are reconciled. Gene gets back to school and avoids all athletic activity. World War II is in full swing, and the boys at Devon are all eager to enlist in the military. Brinker Hadley, a prominent class politician, suggests to Gene that they enlist together, and Gene agrees. However, that night Phineas comes back to school, so they do not enlist. Phineas expects Gene to take his place as the school’s sports star now that he is injured. When Gene protests that sports no longer seem important in the midst of the war, Finny declares that the war is nothing but a conspiracy to keep young men from eclipsing the older authorities. Phineas then trains Gene for the 1944 Olympics that he was planning on competing in, but now cannot because of his shattered leg. Finny’s perceptions of the incident remain so blurred that he cannot speak conclusively on the matter; Gene maintains that he doesn’t remember the details of it. The boys now bring in Leper, and Leper begins to implicate Gene. Finny declares that he does not care about the facts and rushes out of the room. Later, as the doctor is operating on Finny’s leg, some marrow leaks from the bone and enters Finny’s bloodstream, going directly to his heart and killing him. Gene receives the news with relative tranquility; he feels that he has become a part of Finny and will always be with him. The rest of the boys graduate and go off to enlist in relatively safe branches of the military. Leper has actually been discharged from the army - he did not escape. Gene goes to Vermont and finds that Leper has gone psycho. Leper, who was present at Finny’s accident, reveals that he knows the truth about what happened. Gene is scared that Leper knows that Gene made Phineas fall out the tree, so Gene hastily leaves Leper and goes back to Devon. Hurrying on the stairs, he falls and breaks his leg again (his leg never fully recovered from the shatter when he breaks his leg.) Slides 4 and 6 Slide 52 Slide 34 Slide 9 Slide 18 Slide 12 Slide 37 Author Information; Slide 38
This is at the end of the book Slide 35 Music - I downloaded
it off YouTube Slide 15 Slide 1 The Plot; Slides 19-33 The Plot; Slides 19-33
This is at the end of
the book 0:39 - 0:45 1:09 - 1:19 REVIEW
Major Conflict · Gene feels both love and hate for his best friend, Finny, worshipping and resenting Finny’s athletic and moral superiorities.
Rising Action · Gene’s envy of Finny grows; Gene realizes that Finny doesn’t return his resentment; Gene becomes jealous of Finny’s seeming incapacity to be envious; Gene feels that Finny is a morally superior person; Finny suggests that the boys climb a tree together.
Climax · Gene jounces the limb of the tree, making Finny fall and shatter his leg.
Falling Action · Gene feels guilty about Finny’s fall; he and Finny become even more intimate, developing a codependency; the boys put Gene on “trial” for the accident; Finny falls down the stairs and breaks his leg again; Finny dies during the operation on his leg. Presented by: Thérèse Arceneaux