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A Separate Peace

A Separate Peace

by John Knowles

Youth Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

Although they were old stairs, the worn moons in the middle of each step were not very deep. The marble must be unusually hard. That seemed very likely, only too likely, although with all my thought about these stairs this exceptional hardness had not occurred to me. It was surprising that I had overlooked that, that crucial fact (1.10).

Look at the hints the narrator gives us in the early chapters as to what's coming later. His narrative casts a discriminating light on the events of his youth, illuminating only what's most important.

Quote #2

This was the tree, and it seemed to me standing there to resemble those men, the giants of your childhood, whom you encounter years later and find that they are not merely smaller in relation to your growth, but that they are absolutely smaller, shrunken by age. In this double demotion the old giants have become pigmies while you were looking the other way (1.18).

Has Gene's view of Phineas similarly changed, or does he still look as a moral and heroic "giant" in Gene's mind?

Quote #3

The tree was not only stripped by the cold season, it seemed weary from age, enfeebled, dry. I was thankful, very thankful that I had seen it. So the more things remain the same, the more they change after all—plus c'est la même chose, plus ça change. Nothing endures, not a tree, not love, not even a death by violence (1.19).

How has the event of Finny's death changed over time, as Gene seems to suggest here?

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