Analysis Of John Knowles 'A Separate Peace'

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John Knowles’ A Separate Peace presents the reader with a young, oblivious boy’s transformation to a man with a clear perspective of the world around him. Gene Forrester’s story begins with a group of young boys living in their own world at Devon, completely untouched by reality. By the end of this story though, Gene sees and accepts the reality of the world he is living in. Through his journey, he develops into a man who accepts the evils of the world and can come to terms with the darkness inside of every person, including himself.
When the reader is first introduced to Gene he is living within himself, separated from the war all around him. Gene describes their secret society as, “a success from the start,” saying, “That night Finny began
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While visiting Finny, Gene confesses, “I was thinking about you and the accident because I caused it...I deliberately jounced the limb so you would fall off” (69-70). Gene is introduced to the darkness inside of himself when Finny’s accident happens. The jealous rage that pushed Gene to hurt Finny and the guilt that racked up inside of him began to show him the dark feelings that exist in the world. While contemplating enlisting, Gene thinks to himself that, “The war would be deadly all right. But I was used to finding something deadly in things that attracted me; there was always something deadly lurking in anything I wanted, anything I loved” (100-101). Finny’s accident and Gene’s conversation with Brinker allow Gene to truly realize the negative feelings within him. By contemplating enlisting Gene also begins to connect himself to the war and all of the horrors that come with it. Gene realizes while visiting Leper that, “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,” (144). His exchange with Leper finally solidifies Gene’s understanding of the war on a personal level. Gene finally connects himself and his life to the war, providing him with clarity over his reality. The war represents all of the dark things in the world, and through Gene’s experiences, he is able to connect himself to this

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