Study Guide

A Separate Peace Writing Style

By John Knowles

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Writing Style

Indulgent, Heavily Descriptive

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 exaltation, balancing on one foot on the prow of a canoe like a river god, his raised arms invoking the air to support him, face transfigured, body a complex set of balances and compensations, each muscle aligned in perfection with all the others to maintain this supreme fantasy of achievement, his skin glowing from immersions, his whole body hanging between river and sky as though he had transcended gravity and might be gently pushing upward with his foot… (6.12)

Passages like this one create an almost dream-like atmosphere – fitting, since we're in someone's memory here.

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