A Separate Peace by John Knowles


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A Separate Peace by John Knowles

A Separate Peace was written by John Knowles in 1959 when he was 33. it is ser in a New Hampshire prep school during WWII. A few teens at this school are greatly affected by the war. Many adults are asking them to join the armed forces. Gene, the main character, trains with his once athletic star friend, Finny, for the Olympics. Although against the war many people request that he join. His other friend, Leper, joins and receives a Section 8 discharge for being considered "mentally unstable." Even though against the war, many of the boys do join the troops just to avoid being drafted to the front lines. This is also related to how many teens feel today. America is currently in a war which many people oppose but join the military for money or simply to travel. In times like these it is always good to reflect on the days of our ancestors and hear what it was like for them.
At Devon School the students feel obligated to join the forces because all of the adults who are instigating the war are constantly telling the boys the advantages of joining, knowing full well they themselves have no risk of getting hurt. Many of the boys buckle under the pressure and join, but others won't give in and decide to finish off their senior year of school. Unlike during WWII, teens do not feel the constant pressure to solve a war that their parents have started. Today's war is so controversial that saying that you oppose the war isn't as big a deal as it was during WWII.
At Devon its very hard to walk around on campus without talk of the war, as it is today, but today its very different. Today at school the kids will talk of both sides of the war, good and bad, not just the one side of it, as they did at Devon. Today we are more expressive of the war because not everyone agrees on the reason for the war. During WWII it was clear why they were at war and most of the nation agreed with it. Today we are a nation split in two, which is good because it allows people to speak their mind without criticism from the entire nation, but if you were to talk bad of the war during WWII, it was likely that you would be considered the most unpatriotic person in America.

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At Devon many of the teens start to feel almost in a state of depression, they know that their school year is coming to an end and they will soon become part of the war in some way. Today's teens don't really care, the draft isn't in affect and the only thing that most of them fear would be their friends or family who has enlisted going overseas.
During WWII the only topic on campus was the war. About either who has recently joined or what has happened to those who have joined. Today with so much going on with new technology and natural disasters the war is a big topic but not quite as much as you may think. We do occasionally talk of the war when we hear about a local person doing something important but mostly we are talking about sports and other events. This is quite similar to Finny and Gene, they chose not to speak of the war to each other, just to concentrate on the Olympics and what the best way to train.
Today's teens do not feel at all obligated to participate in the war, with so much more going on they try to put it in the back of their minds. But, teens during WWII felt tremendous pressure from their peers and adults to take part, as the whole country was doing everything that they could to help out the cause. Today the only person pressuring teens are the teen themselves.
War has an affect on everyone, but most of those who are affected at the teens, for they are the youth of the country and their minds are easy to corrupt. They are also the ones who will end up seeing all of the "action" and are the ones who are going to have to live with the consequences of the war, as did those young ones of A Separate Peace. With a war going on, it's very scary for young folk because they usually aren't involved with the talk of the war and get the wrong impression from news and rumors. As adults people need to talk to their kids about war so they know what's going on and how to avoid doing the same when they are in power.


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