The Theme Of Growing Up In John Knowles A Separate Peace

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Why do people fear growing up? The progression from a child to an adult is only natural. yet many absolutely dread the idea of transitioning into adulthood. Set in New England during World War II A Separate Peace tells the story of two friend, Gene and Phineas, and their short lived time of being children. The two boys spend the last of their years at Devon concerned with preserving their innocence before the war takes them. But Gene learns a lot about himself during this time and in return grows a lot as a person. In A Separate Peace by John Knowles explores the theme of the pain of growing up with literary devices such as symbolism, setting, and narrative. Knowles uses the setting of the Naguamsett river to symbolize the harsh reality of adulthood. When describing the school of Devon Gene makes a comment about the Naguamsett river .“We never used this lower river, the Naguamsett, during the summer. It was ugly, saline, fringed …show more content…
The readers see Gene in his transition to growing up, from his jealousy and other child-like feelings, to the ultimate betrayal of his friend, to the guilt that came after it, to acceptance, and finally his reflection of all that has happened. Gene survives the war because of his endurance towards pain that came with growing up, unlike his friend Phineas, who died when confronted by the reality of evil. So why are people afraid of growing up? It is because they fear the unknown, and in A Separate Peace Knowles is trying to tell the readers that it is okay to grow up no matter how unbearable it be, and there’s no need to fear that, This message is most effective for individuals who are in their lasts years of childhood, and who may have doubts for the future. If everyone had the same experience as Gene did at Devon, the world may be a more self realized

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