This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

A Separate Peace: Nature Of Man

1903 words - 8 pages

A Separate Peace: Nature of Man

The greatest battles of humanity are often not merely a clash of arms, but a quiet, vast conflict in the human heart. Similarly, actions in the world are thoughts made into reality, and feelings turned into motion. It is terrible to realize that war in all its evils is often a pure expression of something sinister within. A Separate Peace by John Knowles intimately explores the depths within humanity to uncover the essence of human nature. The novel is focuses on the solitary and intelligent narrator Gene Forester and his best friend, the athletic Phineas, or Finny. Their experiences over the course of a semester have many parallels with author John Knowles' actual life. He based the Devon School setting on his own time at the prestigious Philips Exeter Academy during the end of World War II (Jones). The author uses introspection to exhume the mind and soul of Gene, and to explore what shapes him. In his novel A Separate Peace, John Knowles expresses that one can only mature through self-awareness, in order to counter the indoctrination of youth into World War II.
Fittingly, the single greatest expression of such knowledge is in the characterization of the protagonist Gene, and later his development. He is the premier student of Devon Academy, intelligent and studious, but a social outcast, trying to stay afloat in a school of piranhas for classmates. He is commonly described as the "cautious Protestant" with a "germ of wildness" ("A Separate Peace"), describing his innate savagery beneath the veneer of civilization. In the beginning of the story, he held great enmity for Phineas despite their friendship. Gene saw Finny first as a competing rival, neurotic and jealous like himself, seeking to sabotage Gene's studies. Later, Gene learns that Finny believed Gene’s academic success was as natural as Finny's athleticism. In a pivotal moment of the novel, Gene deliberately shakes Finny from a tree while they played, breaking his leg and his dreams of sports forever. Eventually, Gene would seek self-awareness to learn why he lashed out at Phineas' kindness, and discover by doing so the true nature of man.
Unfortunately, Gene would find that his own nature was inherently hostile, mistrusting, and begrudging. Maturity comes at the price of innocence, even from the price of one's own nature. The impulse to mindless destruction that Gene attempted to restrain was always with him, buried. Elwin Lepellier comments that "[Gene] always were (sic) a savage underneath" (Knowles 137). This is rather accurate, as Gene then attacks Lepellier for accusing him rightfully of shaking Finny from the tree. "In the end, Gene realizes that his real enemy is himself and his impulse towards mindless destruction—and he believes he overcame this enemy only after causing Phineas' death." (Alton) When Gene reflects on himself, he can finally acknowledge the evil demolishing impulse that ruled the last years of his life....

Find Another Essay On A Separate Peace: Nature of Man

A separate peace is a story of

1214 words - 5 pages "A Separate Peace" takes places in the middle of World War II in the town of Devon, New Hampshire in1942. Throughout the story Gene is constantly in conflict with someone. He always stands up for his friends, but also goes against what he knows is right to prove himself to Finny. The story "A Separate Peace" by John Knowles is a story of war symbolized by Gene Forrester's conflicts and rivalries with the peoplehe interacts with especially Finny

Liberal Humanistic Critique of A Separate Peace

1132 words - 5 pages a look at the darker side of adolescence, showing jealousy’s disastrous effects. Gene’s envious thoughts and jealous nature, create an internal enemy, that he must fight. A liberal humanistic critique reveals that Knowles’ novel, A Separate Peace, has a self contained meaning, expresses the enhancement of life, and reveals that human nature does not change. Knowle’s novel, A Separate Peace, has a self contained meaning and theme, not

A Separate Peace The Fall Of Demise

667 words - 3 pages In the book A Separate Peace, author John Knowles shows a gradual change from adolescence to adulthood and the transaction from innocence to the devastating reality of WWII and how inner conflict in a minute part of town can be greater than WWII. The protagonists, Gene and Finny, are young souls studying in an all boys prep in a school called Devon in New Hampshire. Although Finny attended both winter and summer session, he changed drastically

A Separate Peace

580 words - 3 pages Siva Nuthanapati (5) OrganizationMiss O' Reilly, p. 3 (20) Details/ AnalysisAmerican Literature, Honors (10) Quotes11 September 2014 (5) MechanicsFinding a Separate PeacePeace comes at the price of either a great struggle or sacrifice. In reality peace is attained when one is able to beat the enemy, or if the enemy beats you. In the book, A Separate Peace, written John Knowles, the biggest debate would be whether Gene Forrester succeeds in

A Separate Peace Analysis

517 words - 2 pages Many people wish that there would be nothing to worry about. When problems do arise, these people do not associate themselves with them, but they try to find a separate peace. In the novel of the same title, Gene is one of those people, and he tries to ignore the outside war by finding an inner peace: Phineas. Finny becomes a magical fairy that sprinkles tranquility into Gene’s daily life. Even though Phineas becomes Gene’s separate peace, Finny

A Separate Peace

1124 words - 4 pages In many works of literature there are often secrets and deceptions involved; either direct lies or unspoken truths. Often these lies and deceptions are meant to hide a crime or violent act. This is the case in John Knowles's A Separate Peace (1960). In contrast, The Importance of Being Earnest (1990), by Oscar Wilde the lies and deceptions are a type of game.In A Separate Peace, Gene was involved in a deception to hide the fact that he pushed

A Separate Peace

586 words - 2 pages In the novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles, there is a contrast of two wars raging on. While World War II tumbled on outside of Devon School, one unfolded within Gene himself. Gene could not tolerate Phineas's ideal character and believed it was a threat he must rid himself of. A series of changes involving acceptances and rejections takes place before Gene realized that his war had only one side from the beginning and Phineas could never be

A Separate Peace - 586 words

586 words - 2 pages In the novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles, there is a contrast of two wars raging on. While World War II tumbled on outside of Devon School, one unfolded within Gene himself. Gene could not tolerate Phineas's ideal character and believed it was a threat he must rid himself of. A series of changes involving acceptances and rejections takes place before Gene realized that his war had only one side from the beginning and Phineas could never be

A Separate Peace - Symbolism

1600 words - 6 pages In John Knowle’s A Separate Peace, symbols are used to develop and advance the themes of the novel. One theme is the lack of an awareness of the real world among the students who attend the Devon Academy. The war is a symbol of the "real world", from which the boys exclude themselves. It is as if the boys are in their own little world or bubble secluded from the outside world and everyone else. Along with their friends, Gene and

Transformation, A Separate Peace

1171 words - 5 pages ''The more things change, the more they remain the same.''(904) There are many themes presented in the book A Separate Peace, But I think the most meaningful and bold theme in the book is the theme of transformation. The most obvious transformations were that of the main characters, Gene and Finny. Some other characters besides Gene and Finny also had transformations. For most people, transformations occur over a matter of years, or even decades

A Separate Peace

1151 words - 5 pages A Separate Peace: by John Knowles      During World War II in the struggle for peace among nations comes a smaller, but still significant struggle, in a prep school boy becoming a man and waking up to reality.      In the book A Separate Peace, the author John Knowles, creates the image of two sixteen-year old boys struggling to keep what little sense of peace they know, even though there is

Similar Essays

A Separate Peace: The Nature Of Hatred And Peace This Essay Discribes The Fatal Extremes Of Hate And Peace, As Seen In John Knowles' "Separate Peace"

569 words - 2 pages In A Separate Peace, hatred and peace influenced many characters. The war functions as a source of hatred, while Finny is a source of peace. Gene injured Finny and realizes that he must change from his jealous and selfish behavior; though Finny's help, his peace slowly transformed Gene into something like Finny. When Leper faced the war by enlisting, the hatred and brutality negatively transforms him into a selfish and uncaring lunatic. There

Savagery Of Man: A Comparison Of Lord Of The Flies And A Separate Peace

841 words - 4 pages There is evidence in both Lord of the Flies and A Separate Peace that display the savagery of man. In Lord of the Flies there is savagery found when the choir boys and most of the bigguns separate from Ralph’s authority and form their own tribe. In A Separate Peace, savagery is found in unnamed characters during Leper’s war experience - he feels such a need to escape from evil and savagery in the war that he takes the risk and actually does. In

Themes Of A Separate Peace Essay

616 words - 2 pages In the drama A Separate Peace by John Knowles is set in the 1940's during World War II. This story is about two boys finding their way through life. During a person's lifetime from birth to death somewhere in between they learn the most important things are acquired through their "wars". During their "quest" to find their true identity Gene and Finny are both secretly fighting a war against one another. This also leads to the main theme of the

A Separate Peace Is A Story Of

1214 words - 5 pages "A Separate Peace" takes places in the middle of World War II in the town of Devon, New Hampshire in1942. Throughout the story Gene is constantly in conflict with someone. He always stands up for his friends, but also goes against what he knows is right to prove himself to Finny. The story "A Separate Peace" by John Knowles is a story of war symbolized by Gene Forrester's conflicts and rivalries with the peoplehe interacts with especially Finny