Essay on A Separate Peace By John Knowles

1114 Words Aug 18th, 2016 5 Pages
As children begin to mature, they must establish their own beliefs. Accepting mistakes, discovering individual identity, and losing childhood ignorance are key obstacles when growing up in society. In the coming-of-age novel, A Separate Peace, Gene Forrester, at the Devon Boarding School, encounters these challenges when conflicts arise as a result from his friendship with Phineas, “Finny”. However, the intensifying pressures of external conflicts force Gene to grow even more than normal; since the story takes place throughout World War II, the conflict creates even more tension, stress, and necessity to develop in the novel. Throughout A Separate Peace, John Knowles conveys that in order for one to move beyond past mistakes and mentally mature, one must conquer their internal dilemmas; Knowles uses Finny’s broken legs, the end of the Devon Winter Carnival, and the untimely death of Finny to depict his thematic purpose by symbolizing Gene Forrester 's psychological progression.
As Finny falls from the tree at the conclusion of the Devon summer session, his ensuing injuries represent Gene’s need and ability to acknowledge his harmful jealousy towards Finny. While attempting a double jump at the commencement of a Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session meeting, Gene “jounce[s] the limb” of a tree that the boys were on, challenging Finny’s athletic ability, and causes Finny to fall to the ground “with a sickening, unnatural thud” (60). This act results in two types of…

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