A Separate Peace By John Knowles Essay examples

1222 Words Nov 20th, 2015 5 Pages
World War II as a Symbol in A Separate Peace
In A Separate Peace, John Knowles uses World War II to symbolize denial of conflict and feelings, the reality of impending adulthood, and internal conflict in the minds of Gene and Finny. The war and the question of whether or not to enlist are omnipresent worries in the minds of the boys at the Devon School in New Hampshire. Although World War II is a major conflict in the novel, the various forms of strife it symbolizes are much more significant in the development of Knowles’ story.
World War II symbolizes denial in many forms. For much of the novel, Finny refuses to believe that the war actually exists, referring to the combat as “nothing more than a ploy concocted by fat, old, wealthy men” (Adney 3). Finny explains his denial of the war as a result of his suffering, which shocks Gene. Finny truly sees the effects of the war when Leper returns to campus after a disconcerting stint in the military (Bryfonski 59). Denial is also seen in Gene’s fear of self-confrontation. Gene refuses to accept Leper Lepellier’s “wisdom of woe,” which refers to Leper’s mental breakdown during his time in military training, despite the fact that the two boys are experiencing an identity crisis (Bryfonski 52). Finny wholeheartedly rejects the indication that Gene purposefully jounced the limb. When Gene attempts to confess his responsibility for the incident, Finny refuses to recognize Gene as the guilty party (Rowe 3). Finny cannot accept the fact…

Related Documents