Effects of the War on the Students of Devon
"Looking back now across fifteen years, I could see with great clarity the fear I had lived in, which must mean that in the interval I had succeeded in a very important undertaking: I must have made my escape from it" ( Knowles 5). In this novel A Separate Peace, using these words, John Knowles reveals the fear that haunts the students at Devon and when they proceeded with all their training for the war they mature into adults.
A Separate Peace shares the lives of students at Devon that are forced into an unknown world of fear, problems, and uncertainty as they head off to World War II in training to fight and represent their country where they will find or lose themselves and make important decisions that will impact their future. The students at Devon are put into adulthood at an early age, having to fight and make their country proud, but they are left feeling pressure for a war they do not start. The students enter a world of unexpectedness and dread where they are forced into adulthood through war, and are exposed to self sacrifice, physical awareness, and patriotism.
Self-sacrifice is a major value that effects the students of Devon as they decide to enlist and sacrifice their luxuries. The students are faced with the unfamiliar pressures of the adult world where they must sacrifice themselves for the good of their country. For example, when a recruiter comes to Devon to encourage the students to join the ski-troops in the army, Leper Lepellier decides to enlist because even though he fears the war he knows he is pressured to make a decision ( where to enlist ) and this is one war job, he can execute. Leper , a loner, has finally found where he thinks he fits in, in the war, he is a naturalist and does not share the same interests with the other boys, a war life for him is hard to lead. Leper says, ? I am almost glad this war came along, and it's like a test, isn't it, and only the things and people who have been evolving the right way will survive? (128). This quote is very contradicting because Leper is very unskilled and isolated from all the boys at Devon, he is glad to help because he finds something he is good at and able to do, but ends up breaking down, going crazy, and running away . In addition, Gene thinks of enlisting in the war after seeing a train of troops who seem elite, clean, healthy and happy, makes him inspired to serve in the war. Gene feels by enlisting he can start a new life and forget his past mistakes. Gene says , ?To slam the door impulsively on the past, to shed everything down to my last bit of clothing, to break the pattern of my life..." (91) This quote shows how Gene feels he has done so much wrong and by starting over he can become a new person, but he declines this idea when he finds out his best friend Phineas has broken his leg and needs him. To sum up, the boys at Devon face troubles and consequences as they enlist...