A Separate Peace By John Knowles

1810 Words8 Pages
In John Knowles’ novel A Separate Peace, it begins with the protagonist, Gene Forrester coming back to his alma mater the Devon School in New Hampshire. Wandering through the campus, Gene makes his way to a tall tree by the river; the reason for his return. From here he takes the reader back to the year 1942 during World War II when he was in high school. During the summer session ofthat year, he becomes close friends with his daredevil roommate Finny who is able to convince Gene into making a dangerous jump out of a tree into a river, and the two start a secret society based on this ritual. Gene slowly begins to envy Finny’s athletic capabilities and his innocence, and he thinks that Finny envies him in return. Gene finally realizes that…show more content…
Finny does not say much because he cannot remember clearly, and Gene claims that he doesn’t remember the details of it. The boys now bring in Leper, who was sighted earlier in the day skulking about the bushes, and Leper begins to implicate Gene. Finny declares that he does not care about the facts and rushes out of the room. Hurrying on the stairs, he falls and breaks his leg again. 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 and apologizes. Finny accepts these statements and the two are reconciled. Later, during an operation on Finny’s leg, something goes wrong, killing him. Gene receives the news with relative calmness; he feels that he has become a part of Finny and will always be with him. At the end of the novel Gene reflects on the constant enmity that plagues the human heart—a curse from which he believes that only Finny was immune. I believe that John Knowles titled his novel A Separate Peace because Gene gains a separate peace with himself. Even though he hurt Finny and had lots of conflict with him and troubling finding himself, at the end he is able to feel at peace. It was a different peace than he was expecting. Even in the midst of a world war, Gene battles his inner demons and defeats his worst enemy inside himself and thus creates a different, a separate peace for himself. The four main characters in A

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