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Happy Essay

694 words - 3 pages

O'Hara 1Clare O'HaraMrs. MerolaEnglish 923 May 2014The Truth About Coming of AgeIn the coming of age novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the boys of Devon School are on their way to becoming men. As they begin to "come of age," the boys realize that the process might not be as pleasant as they thought it would be. Two of these boys, Gene and Leper, come into age through painful, harrowing experiences that force them into adulthood.Gene, the protagonist of the novel, comes of age through his experiences with Finny. Gene, in the beginning of the book, is drawn to Finny's charismatic and vibrant personality, up to the point where he could be obsessed with him. He soon becomes jealous and envious Finny because of his own insecurity. Toward the end of Devon's school session, Finny and Gene are in a tree and are about to jump out into a river. Gene, as decided on later in the book, jostles the tree in an impulse of envy and Finny falls out. From this experience, Gene realizes that he has a savage in him and it scares him. Even Leper says to Gene, "… always a savage underneath" (Knowles 137). This realization starts Gene on his process of coming of age. Another event that pushed Gene farther along in his coming of age process was the war. During the Devon boys' school year in 1942 to 1943, World War II is going on. The boys are contemplating whether to enlist or wait to see if they will be drafted. It is very exciting but very frightening. After Leper is discharged from the army and Gene visits him in Vermont, Gene really sees the true horror of war. Gene sees how Leper has mentally snapped and says, "I didn't care what I said to him now; it was myself I was worried about. For if Leper was psycho it was the army which had done it to him, and I and all of us were on the brink of the army" (Knowles 135-136)....

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