"A Seperate Peace" ~ Theme, Characters, Cause/Effect, Figurative Language. A Basic Novel Analysis.

1633 words - 7 pages

ThemeThe theme in A Separate Peace is that people create enemies in their mind for themselves to destroy, but once the enemy is lost so is the victor. While World War II lingers on in the background of most of the students minds, the war in Gene's life is within himself. In Knowles perspective, through the character of Gene, everyone goes through a war in his life and there is always an enemy to be defeated. Gene is in a constant war with his "best friend," Finny, over who can be better, except that Finny doesn't even know he is part of the battle until it takes his life. Finny, being the essence of innocence, believes that no one could possibly be his enemy because he has done nothing wrong. However how could Finny have lived in such a world where his innately pure spirit puts him above a war soaked world?Gene's internal war is similar to Neil's war in the movie Dead Poets Society. Neil's decisions of what he wants to do with his life conflict with the ideas and plans that his father has for him. However this conflict is displayed aloud and both parties know that they are part of the conflict. In the end, instead of silencing the enemy, Neil decides to end the war by destroying himself. Similar to the alternative in A Separate Peace where Gene defeats his enemy, Neil's father lost his 'enemy' and still lost the war.ConflictThe conflicts in A Separate Peace are major. The major conflict entails the problem of Finney falling from the tree and breaking his leg bones. He falls from the tree at the Super Suicide Meeting, during a nightly river jump, onto the riverbank. Although he is expected to make a good recovery, this super athlete will not be able to play sports again. Later when Finney is able to have visitors, his beat friend Gene visits. Gene was in the tree with Finney, so he forces upon Finney that he had pushed him and made him fall. Finney tells Gene to leave, and then Gene feels like he needs to take back what he said because it shouldn't have been said. However he really does believe that he did push Finney.A seemingly equal conflict is a rivalry between Finney and Gene. Gene thinks that because he is the top student at the school, and Finney is the best athlete, that they are even in where their talents will take them to college and beyond. However he realizes that he is great at academics and good at sports, but Finney is great at sports, but terrible at school, so they are not really even. When he asks Finney what he would feel if he became Valedictorian. Finney said very seriously that he would die if Gene did that.Since their conflicts are voiced to each other their conflicts are external. This conflict affects the story because Gene has to overcome pressure by Finney and stay great in his academics.CharacterAt one point described above, when Gene and Finney talk about their talents, they interact in an uneasy, but calm conflicting way. The motivation for Gene to speak to Finney about the subject is to quell any animosity or envy...

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