Consequences Of War In John Knowles's A Separate Peace

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The Legacy and Consequences of War In his coming-of-age novel, A Separate Peace, John Knowles tells the story of Gene Forrester and the struggles he faces – both internal and external. While Gene’s external struggles revolve mainly around world affairs at large; his internal struggles prove to be his greatest obstacle to overcome. The following excerpt demonstrates the struggle of consequences as being like a chain-reaction and how it destructively affects his best friend Phineas, “I took a step towards him… jounced the limb… his balance gone… and then he tumbled… broke through the branches below and hit the bank with a sickening unnatural thud… with unthinking sureness I moved… jumped into the river, every trace of my fear forgotten” (Knowles …show more content…
It is the only war to date that was fought amongst Americans on American soil and pinned brother against brother in the fight against slavery. The issue of slavery, which had long since been pushed aside for future generations to deal with finally climaxed to its breaking point in 1861. Not even the like of Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and Daniel Webster could have stopped the war from breaking out. The senatorial actions of the Great Triumvirate are outlined in John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courge which describes in great detail the passage of the Compromise of 1850 which massively sought to reconcile differences between the North and the South” (55). The Compromise, however, appealed to the South by agreeing to enforce stricter Fugitive Slave Laws but vastly angered the North who viewed its passage as a justification for the South to continue carrying out with its actions and only seemed to delay the inevitable – a simple peacemaker in the sectional struggle. Indeed, Abraham Lincoln seemed to foreshadow the conflict and its consequences in the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 “a house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this Governemnt cannot endure… half slave and half free… I do expect it… to become all one thing or all the other” (____). However, Lincoln could have never imaged that his win in the presidential election of 1860 would be the final strike for the South. Promptly after his victory, the Southern States seceded from the Union and declared themselves a new nation – the Confederate States of America. What followed was a trail of sorrow and despair as the lives of millions of Americans were lost. Slavery was the catalyst that started a domino effect of causes for the Civil War among which were Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Dred Scot ruling (___). The war concluded following the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Courthouse

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