Essay about A Separate Peace: the Theme Rite of Passage

589 Words May 16th, 2005 3 Pages
A SEPARATE PEACE
The theme "rite of passage" was used in the novel A Separate Peace, by John Knowles. This moving from innocence to adulthood was contained within three sets of interconnected symbols: summer and winter, the Devon and Naguamsett Rivers, and peace and war. These symbols served as a backdrop upon which the novel was developed. The loss if Gene Forrester's innocence was examined through these motifs.
The summer and winter sessions symbolized Gene's loss of innocence. During the summer sessions, the boys of Devon were carefree and showed no respect for the rules, while the teachers put no effort into enforcing the rules. "This was the way the masters tended to treat us that summer," (Knowles 23). Together, Gene and
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It was ugly, saline, fringed with marsh, mud and seaweed," (Knowles 76). The Naguamsett was unfamiliar territory to Gene, unlike the Devon. These rivers figuratively represented a change from adolescence to adulthood.
The final set of symbols, peace and war, served as a backdrop for Gene's adolescence and maturity. The Summer Session was a time of peace, it was fun and relaxed. There were no rules for Gene and Finny to follow. "We reminded them of what peace was like, of lives which were not bound up with destruction," (Knowles ). Unlike the summer session, which was full of peace, the winter session was filled of war. The war came to Devon when Leper enlisted. It hit Gene even closer when he found out that Finny had tried to enlist into the war but no one would accept him. "I also wrote the Coast Guard, the Merchant Marine, I wrote to General de Gualle personally, I also wrote Chiang Kai-shek, and I was about ready to write somebody in Russia," (Knowles 190). Gene's rite of passage was examined through these symbols.
Summer and winter, the Devon and Naguamsett Rivers, and peace and war are three symbols represented in A Separate Peace. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, is about a teenager at a Prep school in New Hampshire, and his struggle to find out where he belongs in the war. These symbols exhibited Gene's loss of

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