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A Separate Peace

A Separate Peace

by John Knowles

A Separate Peace Analysis

Literary Devices in A Separate Peace

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

A Separate Peace spends a lot of time talking about the war, and as much time talking about sports. At first these seem like completely different things. Sport is, as Finny sees it, "purely good,"...

Setting

The setting of A Separate Peace – both time and place – are integral to the story and its meaning. As you'll read, well, everywhere in this guide, the backdrop of World War II establish...

Narrator Point of View

Gene Forrester tells his own story in retrospect while visiting Devon as an adult. This leads to a truckload of point-of-view confusions. As the narrative progresses, we can never be certain which...

Genre

Generally, any book dealing with a bunch of teenagers is going to be a coming-of-age story. More directly, A Separate Peace deals with much of the angst that goes with, well, being sixteen. All tho...

Tone

Because the narrative is told in retrospect by an older and (maybe) wiser Gene, A Separate Peace is infused with a sense of reflection. Anecdotes are interspersed with long, contemplative musings o...

Writing Style

Knowles doesn't really hold back with the lyrical descriptive paragraphs. The upside is, we get these gorgeous, lasting images depicting Devon and its students. Like this one: …Phineas in exa...

What's Up With the Title?

The phrase "separate peace" is a military term, and it's a bit complicated. If one nation has an alliance with another nation, it can refuse to fight that other nation's enemy by forming a separate...

What's Up With the Ending?

At the end of the novel, Gene concludes that what made Phineas different was his lack of resentment, lack of fear. Everyone, he claims, identifies an enemy in the world and pits themselves against...

Plot Analysis

Everything is peachy keen in the Summer Session of 1942Oh sure, there's a world war on and all, but it doesn't seem to be affecting these boys too much. If there's going to be a conflict, it's goin...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis:

Narrator Gene's return to Devon This is where we first become aware of the monster – or monsters, as the case has it here. We're talking the war (World War II), wars in general, personal wars...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Act I takes us through the peaceful Summer session at Devon and ends right about the time Finny declares his best-friendship for Gene and Gene decides to kindly NOT return the favor. At this point,...

Trivia

Knowles claimed to have based the character of Finny on a real-live guy he went to prep school with, named David Hackett, who, as far as we know, never had a broken leg."Can I jounce your limb?" is...

Steaminess Rating

The short answer is that there is no sex in this book.However, some readers are convinced that Gene is sexually attracted to Phineas. For one, the descriptions of Phineas are very physical in natur...

Allusions

Virgil (1.27)Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1.48, 4.35), Far from the Maddening Crowd (1.48)Lazarus (4.2)Voltaire, Candide (4.35)Molière (4.35), Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (12.63)Homer...
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