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 on war, youth, the past. At times, the tone can feel just a little heavy-handed, but we'll be less judgmental and call it "loaded," as in loaded with lots of symbolic meaning. For example: "Isn't the bone supposed to be stronger when it grows together over a place where it's been broken once?" (11.15). Also known as "Let me talk about our friendship in thinly veiled metaphorical language." You get the idea.