Analysis Of John Knowles 'A Separate Peace'

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John Knowles’s novel A Separate Peace follows a group of private school students through a turning point in their lives. After previously being secluded from the chaos around the world, their sudden involvement in Finny’s injury and the war effort force them to adopt different perspectives. The more they learn from these new viewpoints, the more they mature and understand the world as it really is. A Separate Peace shows that, in order to grow as a person, it is necessary to view life from different perspectives. While the war is by far the most significant world event in 1942, the Devon children start the year with little comprehension of what war actually entails. Before enlistment begins, the students only regard war as a spectacle, or simply claim that “there isn’t any war” (Knowles 107). Leper’s belief in these warped claims only worsens his experience once he enlists; he goes in expecting war to be the spectacle, and reality drives him insane because of it. Once the other students realize the war’s effect on Leper, they too outgrow their childish idealism and understand how dangerous…show more content…
Leper’s quiet, peaceful demeanor shatters after experiencing war firsthand, and his subsequent loss of sanity inspires the others to finally realize how dangerous the war really is. Finny’s new reliance on his friends following the injury makes him understand that natural athleticism will no longer be enough to make his life successful. Gene also learns from Finny’s incident, as he both starts caring for more than just himself by helping Finny, and realizes how small his problems were at Devon after experiencing life outside school. By detailing the original naïveté and subsequent growth expressed by his characters, Knowles’s novel shows that in order to mature and understand the real world, one must view life from different
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