A Separate Peace, a prestigious, protuberant, and coming-of-age novel was written by John Knowles with the support of various people, including the renowned Thornton Wilder (the author of Our Town). “The ‘separate peace’ of the title refers, in part, to a magical summer session in which the school's "attitude of floating, chronic disapproval" dissipates with the awareness that soon enough Devon boys will be asked to fight, and die, for their country” (Metcalf). The post-war fictional book is about the lives of two teenage-boys, Gene and Phineas (the two are “best-friends” and roommates), and is set within a boys’ boarding-school called Devon Prep School located in New Hampshire during the ...view middle of the document...
Gene is a complex character, with a multifaceted mindset. Readers can easily grasp this indication by the author’s constructive use of point-of-view.
The point-of-view is a crucial component that allows readers to not only connect to Gene in a personal way and identify with the character, but also is used as a method of construing the character’s thoughts and decision-making processes. Point-of-view intertwines not only with the characterization in A Separate Peace, but provides the audience with enriching theme and morale presented through the words of Gene, for instance, the tone of both reflection
and the loss of innocence are obviously present and easily observed.
Other readers differ in opinion to which literary-technique Knowles integrated to writing the novel, to credit most. According to James Ellis, a writer
for The English Journal, states the idea that, “John Knowles’ achievement is due,” he believes, “to his having successfully imbued his characters and setting with a symbolism that while informative is never oppressive” ( Ellis 313). Ellis further supports his statement by stating that “because of this the characters and setting retain both the vitality of verisimilitude and the psychological tension of symbolism” (Ellis 313.) While point-of-view permits individuals to comprehend the more profound level of thinking of characters within the text enhancing the depth of characters, symbolism also provides a tension within the minds of these characters.
Point-of-view not only enriches the themes and symbolism within A Separate Peace, but truly enriches the meaning of both and divulges the loss of innocence within the story. Although innocence is not the lone theme, others being friendship, reflection, and identity, innocence is the primary foundation that sets the tone of naivety throughout the rest of the written work. The loss of innocence is a theme most commonly and repeatedly portrayed through the character Gene, the main protagonist within the story.
Innocence can be...