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A Separate Peace

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by

Anna Grauel

on 28 October 2012

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Transcript of A Separate Peace

A Separate Peace By John Knowles Why was this book banned? Personal Review Editor's review Change and Growing Up Jealousy Personal Identity War and Rivarly Summary Background of Novel -A Separate Peace This story takes place from 1942-1943 at the Devon School, a private academy in New England. The two main characters, Gene And Finny, are students at Devon's summer session. These two boys, along with a few others, become very close and form a club called the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session. The rite of passage is to jump out of a tree into the river. One time when doing this, Finny falls out of the tree, and shatters his leg, ultimately ending his athletic career. After Gene is blamed for the accident, the friendship of the two falls apart. This book is the story of how Gene and Finny regain the strength of their relationship and move on in life. Although not a single fire is shot in the story, At the core of the conflict between Gene And Finny is Gene's desire to be more like Finny, or even become him.
Gene's jealousy of Finny destroys their friendship and
leads to Finny falling out of the tree. Some of Gene's
jealous feelings are casual, but others are more deep
rooted, so much so that even Gene doesnt understand their origin. Gene's jealousy of Finny disappears only after
Finny's injury destroys the trait about Finny that Gene
most envied. Like most sixteen year-old boys, Gene and Finny struggle to find their identities. World War II forces them to define themselves first and foremost in relation to the war. Leper decides to enlist, even though military life sharply contrasts with his gentle nature. Finny denies the war exists at all. In each case, the boys try to define themselves against something in order to be men. Gene goes through the same identity crisis, but he defines himself in relation to Finny. Gene is so jealous of his friend that he literally loses himself. When Gene returns to Devon fifteen years after graduation,
he looks at the tree which Finny fell from and realizes the more things stay the same the more they change. The tree
seemed very different, but only because his perspective changed since he last saw it. This novel contains numerous references to change. As the war goes on, the carefree, calm summer at Devon turns into a strict disciplined autumn. Finny changes from an althete to a cripple and then turns Gene from a bookworm to an athlete. When Gene revisits Devon he finds the school is much the same, it only feels like
it has changed. A Separate Peace This book was excellent. The author, John Knowles, made it absolutely impossible for me to put the book down- I stayed up all night to finish the last few chapters when I know very well I should have gotten that extra hour of sleep! Although I LOVED the book, I was a little disappointed at the end. Aubrey Menen: "I think it is the best-written, best-designed, and most moving novel I have read in many years. Beginning with a tiny incident among ordinary boys, it ends by being as deep and as big as evil itself."

The Observer: "A model of restraint, deeply felt and beautifully written."

Warren Miller: "Mr. Knowles has something to say about youth and war that few contemporary novelists have attempted to say and none has said better." A Glance at the Author:
John Knowles -John Knowles was born on September 16, 1926 in Falrmont,West Virginia.
-At the age of fifteen, Knowles applied to an elite New Hampshire boarding school, Phillips Exeter Academy, which influenced the writing of A Separate Peace.
-Soon after Knowles entered Exeter, the U.S. declared war on Japan and entered World War 2.
-Knowles went into the military after he graduated from school and trained to be a pilot in the US Army Air Force
Aviation Program.
-When the war ended, he attended Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Themes by John Knowles was published in 1959 in Britain and in 1960 in the U.S.
-It is part of both the Modern American and Post-War Fiction literary periods.
-It proved to be such a success that Knowles was able to resign from his job and devote his time to writing and travel.
-He wrote many other novels, although none were as successful as A Separate Peace.

Anna Grauel
Period 4 Separate Peace can be thought of as a war novel. World A War II is a threatening presence that none of the boys at Devon can escape from. As soon as they graduate they will have to enlist. This novel is more focused on a war between individuals although. It is a war, or rivarly, of competing egos, which results in Finny's tragic accident. Through this personal war, battle people must fight to get from the "separate peace"
of teenage innocence to the harsh realities of adult life. It also draws a parallel between the forces that motivate personal rivalries and those that result in World Wars. A Separate Peace shows the was banned for language and sexual content. Challenged in Vernon-Verona-Sherill, NY School District
(1980) as a "filthy, trashy sex novel." Challenged at the
Fannett-Metal High School in Shippensburg, Pa. (1985)
because of its allegedly offensive language. Challenged as
appropriate for high school reading lists in the Shelby
County, Tenn. school system (1989) because the novel
contained "offensive language." Challenged at the
McDowell County, N.C. schools (1996) because of
"graphic language." THE END A Separate Peace makes the case that in an effort to define ourselves, humans create false identities
for oursleves, and enemies out of our friends.
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