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A Separate Peace

A Separate Peace

by John Knowles

Fear Quotes Page 1

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

Preserved along with it, like stale air in an unopened room, was the well known fear which had surrounded and filled those days, so much of it that I hadn't even known it was there. Because, unfamiliar with the absence of fear and what that was like, I had not been able to identify its presence (1.3).

Is sixteen-year-old Gene really unaware of fear? This seems pretty inconsistent with his behavior…Can you say "unreliable narrator"?

Quote #2

I felt fear's echo, and along with that I felt the unhinged, uncontrollable joy which had been its accompaniment and opposite face, joy which had broken out sometimes in those days like Northern Lights across black sky (1.5).

A Separate Peace is all about equal but opposite pairs: war and peace, winter and summer, safety and injury, life and death, and here we see joy and fear.

Quote #3

I felt better. Yes, I sensed it like the sweat of relief when nausea passes away; I felt better. We were even after all, even in enmity. The deadly rivalry was on both sides after all (4.34).

That Gene feels better at finding resentment in Finny proves both his jealousy and its source: Finny's character, not his abilities.

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