John Knowles was born on 1962 in Fairmont, West Virginia and passed away on November 29, 2001. He was 15 years old when he became a student at Phillips Exeter Academy, a boarding school. After he graduated from there is 1945, he decided to join the war effort as part of the U.S. Army Air Force’s Aviation Cadet Program. John went to Europe and worked as a journalist until the mid 1950’s and then returned to the U.S in 1957. After returning, he took a job with the associate editor at Holiday magazine, Thornton Wilder. Wilder was interested in Knowles’ writing and started working on “ A Separate Piece.” This was Knowles’ first novel and his most successful one too. Knowles was given the honors of writer-in-residence at both Princeton University and University of North Carolina. A Separate Peace illustrates Knowles’ idea and understanding of the war as he, himself comes out through the narrator of Gene. Gene does not only struggle with the idea of the war, but he must overcome his jealousy and hostility toward his best friend Finny.
FORM, STRUCTURE, AND PLOT
The novel was organized in thirteen chapters and 251 pages. The techniques the author used was flashbacks and chronological order of events. Knowles would first explain the novel in present time, but then would flashback to his teenage life, especially memorize about the tree. The plot of the novel is complex because of all the flashbacks and present-time events Gene talks about. There is a lot going on and sometimes it’s difficult to understand what perspective Gene is using. In the beginning of the novel, Gene visits his old school in his thirties. As he approaches the famous tree that started so much drama, he begins to reminisce the years he spent there. Throughout the book he starts experiencing more in his life with his friends, especially with Finny. Gene struggles with the understanding of having friendship and then begins to develop the hatred towards Finny. The novel continues with an intriguing story-line where Brinker and other other companions are trying to figure out what happened the night Finny broke his leg. Eventually, Gene and Finny end up in trial where Brinker is the judge and Leper is the witness. Finny then realises what Gene actually did and storms out. He ends up falling down some stairs and breaking his leg again. He is then taken to have surgery done. Sadly, Finny’s bone marrow gets in his blood and dies. In the end, Gene has gained knowledge from everything that’s happened, and realising he was his own enemy and Finny was a true friend.
Gene: Gene Forrester is the narrator and main character throughout the whole novel. He is a round and dynamic character because he develops a sense of understanding through out the story. Gene is about 140 pounds and is five feet eight and a half inches. He is very competitive against his friends and envious, especially toward Finny, and trustworthy. He doesn’t like taking risks or being rebellious. Through Gene’s private...