A Seperate Peace Essay

1020 words - 4 pages

John Knowles wrote A Separate Peace in 1959. It takes place during World War II in the early 1940's at an exclusive boarding school, Devon. It is written through the eyes of Gene, a young man attending this all boys' school. It follows Gene and his friends through the summer of 1942, and right on into their "upper middle", which is equivalent to a junior, year of Devon. A Separate Peace is full of symbolism, Imagery, and has many characters.John Knowles used symbolism throughout all of A Separate Peace. While trying to find a quote to back this idea, I realized that the entire book is symbolism, not just a single quote. In A Separate Peace the school, Devon, symbolizes Gene and Phineas' youth, their childhood, their freedom, and most of all their friendship. The book starts out with Gene, now a full-grown man, revisiting and reliving the years he spent at Devon, and his friendship with Finny. Those years he spent at Devon were the best, and worst years of his life.One of the key elements that John Knowles used was imagery. He described everything with great detail, using many adjectives and adverbs. One example of this is on page one hundred and four when he is describing Finny walking on the ice with his leg in a cast after it was shattered, and trying to make his way across the ice on his crutches. With the sentence "The leg in its cast was like a sea anchor dragged behind." you can easily picture Phineas trying to drag his leg across the ice.A Separate Peace had many characters. Most of which were young boys that attended Devon. The two main characters however, were Gene and Phineas. Gene and Phineas were roommates at Devon, and the best of friends. Gene was a lonely, introverted intellectual, who would often sacrifice his thoughts to follow Phineas'. Phineas was the handsome, dangerous, athletic type. The type of person that can convince anyone to follow them, even if the person knows that it could very well be the biggest mistake of their lives. On page 47 John Knowles described Gene's intellectuality and Phineas' athletic capabilities when he wrote. " I (Gene) was more and more certainly becoming the best student in the school; Phineas was without question the best athlete"¦" Gene and Phineas were very competitive with each other. They were always trying to out do one another. In short they were two opposites that couldn't be more alike.A Separate Peace has a lot of symbolism, imagery, and characters. It follows the life of students, Gene in particular, attending Devon during World War II. This is the first John Knowles book I have read. It didn't really have a plot, and at some points it didn't really have any purpose. I would recommend this book because of how well the author described what was happening, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who has a hard time following along with the story since there is no real...

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