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A Separate Peace By John Knowles: A Literary Analysis

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In the novel, “A Separate Peace”, written by John Knowles, The school of Devon is portrayed as a secluded and sheltered area where they are aware of the events occurring outside of the school such as World War II, yet it has no direct effect on them. Seasons also seem to have a huge impact, the seasons mirror the events and tone of the novel.
A Separate Peace, Is mainly set in the time period of 1942-1943. In the beginning of the novel an older and much wiser Gene looks over the school, and flashbacks to his times at Devon. The Devon school is a boys boarding school in New Hampshire, New England. Gene describes the look of the school as a Sunday school, “This opulent sobriety betrayed the divided nature of the school....From the outside the buildings were reticent, severe straight lines of red brick or white clapboard with...shutters, and a few unassuming white cupolas... on the roofs...like Pilgrim bonnets.” (110) The Devon School is set astride two rivers, The Freshwater Devon and The Naguamsett. Gene describes the course of The Freshwater …show more content…

While there was a war going on in his setting, there was also one going on in his mind, against Phineas and against the jealousy he feels toward him. Not being able to control this jealousy, causes him to push Finny out of the tree. The truth was always swept under the carpet, and replaced with obscure suggestions about what might have happened. But Gene and Finny always seemed to know the truth, it wasn't until Brinker brings out the court, that’s when all the truth comes to realization. At the end Gene learns that Phineas was never the true enemy,“Because it seemed clear that wars were not made by generations and their special stupidities, but that wars were made instead by something ignorant in the human heart.”(201) It was always his own inner demons he was fighting, the greatest enemy he fought during his time at Devon was

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