Throughout time, famous authors have written even more famous books based on their own experiences. Nearly any book can be traced to an event in the author’s life. Whether they do it intentionally or not, these book are basically unofficial autobiographies. While they should not be taken as fact, a reader can come to understand the life of the author, and better understand their work. One famous author, C.S. Lewis, created a beautiful allegory in “The Chronicles of Narnia.” C.S. Lewis was a Christian and Aslan, the main character in the books, was a savior to the world. He modeled Aslan after Jesus Christ. Other famous authors using this technique include J.R.R. Tolkien and John Knowles with his book A Separate Peace.
John Knowles was born in Fairmont, West Virginia in 1926. Fairmont was a small mining town where Knowles attended public schools. His father, James M. Knowles, was the vice president and purchasing agent of a coal company earned him a comfortable living. His mother, Mary Beatrice Shea Knowles, taught him how to read and write and instilled in him a love for learning. His parents decided he needed to go to a better than Oyster Bay High school, so at the age of fifteen, he left home for Phillips Exeter Academy. This academy was an elite prep school in New Hampshire. This new school was both socially and academically difficult. He pushed on and eventually enrolled into Yale to study English in 1944.
In 1947, Knowles graduated a year early due to his enrollment in the Anticipatory Program during the summer. This session was similar to Devon’s “Summer Session” which was meant to prepare boys for the military. Another similarity, was two rivers at Devon that actually exist at Phillips Exeter College. He joined the military to avoid the draft and was accepted into the U.S. Army Air Corps for eight months. He then returned to Yale to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1949. While at Yale, he submitted stories to “The Yale Record” and the “Yale Daily News.” He was also record holding varsity swimmer during his final year. At the age of 19, he married Beth Hughes. He was also an editor for the “Holiday” magazine and started writing novels with encouragement from Thornton Wilder, a winner of three Pulitzer prizes.
Knowles’s relationship with Wilder was one of extreme importance. It all started when Knowles met Wilder at Yale at the age of 22. He apprenticed under him and quickly learned to write. After meeting Wilder, Knowles said, “He was the most brilliant man I ever met and the most insightful in literary matters.” At the age of 25, he gave his first novel to Wilder asking him to read it. Wilder read to page 128, and responded that he couldn’t go on because he wasn’t interested in the material. Disappointed, but determined, Knowles began writing A Separate Peace. He was 28 when it was published. Wilder, an American playwright and novelist, inspired Knowles to begin writing novels. Wilder’s fame as a winner of three Pulitzer Prizes for...