A Separate Peace, By John Knowles

2098 Words 9 Pages
Setting up at a boys’ boarding school during the World War II, “A Separate Peace”, written by John Knowles, is a luminous and sad story about friendships between the boys in Devon School. The title of the novel signifies about a peaceful place that is separated, protected outside from the destructive, evil war, which is realistically Devon. Although Devon is isolated from the war, there is still a personal war of misunderstanding, jealousy, fear and childishness among the boys in here, which banishes their innocence youths and represents the dark side of their adolescences. There is no end of wars, even in the most harmonious place, but only the beginning of achievements that creates peace. Therefore, after all of the resentment, hatred and …show more content…
In the beginning of the novel, Gene appears as a shy and taciturn boy with the fear of being rejected by his peers. Nonetheless, with his competitive and thoughtful personality, Gene always follows his friend to break the school rules, or even do dangerous and unthinkable actions. Moreover, he wants to prove himself as the survivor and good at everything. As an example, when the boys stop at the river and the big tree, Gene is the only person who follows Finny to climb on the tree without anything thinking, though he is afraid of it. However, after Finny says: “Come on… stop standing there showing off. When they torpedo the troopship, you can’t stand around admiring the view. Jump!” (17), Gene chooses to throw his life away rather than keeps his safety and being judged as a loser by his friends. The fear of being underestimated at that moment is more important than the fear of losing his life. As the novel goes through, Gene develops a love-hate relationship with Finny, whom he alternately adores and envies. Then the fear of being inferior to Finny begins to flourish. Comparing to Finny, Gene cannot be as good as him at sports, at his courage and freedom to break rules, and also at his leadership. Thus, Gene tries to beat Finny with grades, and he even suspicions of Finny trying to sabotage his grades and betrays him. Additionally, …show more content…
In the beginning, Leper is a generous, kind boy who adores nature and loves outdoor activities like cross-country skiing. He is not popular at Devon but does not pay attention to such things. Moreover, he is made fun of by other boys all the time because of his weirdness and differences. Most of all, Leper does not care about the war too much. However, due to his love of nature and peace, Leper soon has a clear vision that the war is real and he believes he can make the world into a better place by declaring: “Now I see what racing skiing is all about… I guess maybe racing skiers weren’t ruining the sport after all. They were preparing it, if you see what I mean, for the future… I’m almost glad this war came along. It’s like a test, isn’t it, and only the things and the people who’ve been evolving the right way survive.” (125). Therefore, Leper is one of the first students of Devon to enlist. Nevertheless, the military life proves too much for him, and he starts to face up with his fears, which are the war and being the incompetent since he is chosen to serve in the Section Eight, the section for the disability people only. Instead of proving himself as a normal person, he escapes from the fear and calls Gene, the person who he believes as his best friend. For Leper, Gene is the only chance for him to believe that he is not different from

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