Essay about Finding Peace in A Separate Peace by John Knowles

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Finding Peace

Peace only comes at the price of great struggle and sacrifice for most people. In essence, it only comes when you have defeated the enemy, or the enemy has defeated you. John Knowles was able to capture the subtle goal and essence of his novel by titling it A Separate Peace. A Separate Peace is a story about Gene Forrester, the protagonist of the story, and his constant struggle with the underlying emotional conflicts presented to him. He has to fight a war within his own mind that every man has to fight for himself. His battles eventually uproot underlying emotions of jealousy, envy towards his friends. These emotions then set off a series of events that change his life forever, and he has to fight more for peace amidst a
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Phineas always represented an uninterrupted flow of strength and energy, like a river with nothing capable of changing its current speed. Not even rules were able to stop Finny’s consistent serenity. Even though Phineas was very fond of breaking the rules, he did it in a way that not even the Head Masters were able to resist siding with him. Throughout the book, no major emotional reactions are displayed by Phineas. In the novel, he did not reveal any change of emotions until the confession after the mock trial at the end of the book. His attitude was a polar opposite of Gene. Gene was in a constant conflict with himself. Gene acted with his emotions—anger, frustration, envy, jealousy, and guilt—while Phineas remained in constant control of himself. It is this unending flow that not only hints at his peace, but also proves he is the human manifestation of it.

“Don’t be a sap...there isn’t any war.” After his return to Devon, Finny thinks up a conspiracy theory that denounces that there was a war going on. With this, John Knowles blatantly reveals his metaphor of a separate peace, because it is only Phineas who announces this theory beacuse he is at peace. While war hysteria is constantly enveloping his peers, he denies any idea of a war going on, and tries to resurrect the freedom of worries experienced in the Summer Session. Phineas begins a…