Summary of A Separate Peace by John Knowles Essay

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Summary of A Separate Peace by John Knowles As the novel opens, Gene Forrester returns to Devon, the New Hampshire boarding school he attended during World War II. Gene has not seen Devon for 15 years, and so he notices the ways in which the school has changed since he was a student there. Strangely, the school seems newer, but perhaps, he thinks, the buildings are just better taken care of now that the war is over. Gene walks through the campus on a bleak, rainy November afternoon, revisiting the buildings and fields he remembers—and especially two places he recalls as “fearful sites.” At the First Academic Building, he enters the foyer to look closely at the white marble steps. Then he trudges across the playing fields to the river…show more content…
The shirt, Finny insists, is an “emblem”—a celebration of the first Allied bombing of Central Europe. Later, at a formal tea, Finny wins over the strict Mr. Patch-Withers with his “emblem.” Finny even gets an appreciative laugh from the faculty and their wives when they see that he has also used his Devon tie as a belt, a gesture of disrespect for which anyone else would have been punished. After the tea, Gene and Finny walk across the playing fields talking. Finny declares that he does not believe the Allies bombed Central Europe, and Gene, surrounded by the peace and serenity of the elms, agrees. Bombs in Central Europe, Gene reflects, seem unreal to a boy at Devon. As they approach the river, Finny dares Gene to jump out of the tree again. When Gene accepts, Finny offers to jump at the same time, to “cement” their “partnership.” They also decide to form the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session, in which all members will have to jump from the tree. On the limb, Gene turns to talk to Finny and suddenly loses his balance. Instantly, Finny grabs Gene’s arm, steadying him, and then both jump successfully into the river. Only later, after dinner, does Gene realize that Finny’s quick response may have saved his life. Ch3 As this chapter opens, Finny is recruiting the other boys for the Suicide Society. Every night, Gene and Finny jump from the tree and then watch their

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