Analysis Of The Novel 'A Separate Peace' By John Knowles

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A safe life or a happy life? This is a choice many characters encounter in A Separate Peace by John Knowles. A Separate Peace portrays myriad characters who each have their own outlooks on life. These different perspectives lead to drastically different experiences in the boys’ time at Devon School. Just a few of these characters are the protagonist and narrator, Gene Forrester, an A+ student who wants to live cautiously but secretly loves living boldly, Phineas, Gene’s best friend and a carefree, athletic boy who has complete disregard for his health, and Elwin Lepellier, another student at Devon who enjoys a safer, calmer lifestyle. A major plot device used in A Separate Peace is a tree that some of the students of Devon use to jump into …show more content…
In A Separate Peace, Finny is the merrymaking character, he is the one who comes up with the games and challenges that everyone plays. One example of Finny’s lively personality is his invention of blitzball. Finny creates blitzball for pure, unbridled fun and competition. Finny has no concern for rules until he deems them necessary; in blitzball, whenever a problem or argument arises, Finny quickly comes up with a rule to remedy the debacle. If Finny had let these complications ruin blitzball, then it would not be as enjoyable as it is for the characters. Finny does not care about rules or regulations that are not his own, and this makes him a fun character to be around. But Finny’s disregard of rules has its own problems: he does not care for his or anyone else’s safety, he just lives for satisfaction and joy. Finny is the one who comes up with the idea of the double jump, the event that causes his leg to break. Phineas is delighted by “the challenge of the tree, the competitive tension” (59). This quote perfectly describes Phineas’s character: Finny is attracted by ambitious challenges and “competitive tension.” Finny lives for adrenaline and danger and cares naught about the risks and dangers involved. After Finny breaks his leg, a series of unfortunate events lead to Finny breaking his leg a second time and dying in the surgery. Phineas’s negligence for rules and his pursuance of his desires leads to an amusing life, but it ultimately leads him to his

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