A Separate Piece, By John Knowles Essay

A Separate Piece, By John Knowles Essay

Length: 910 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In John Knowles’ novel, A Separate Piece, the main Character, Gene Forrester, has to learn to become friends with his hazardous roommate, Phineas, at his school, Devon, in New Hampshire. The novel is affected by a number of changes, however the largest and most significant change is the change in seasons. In Thomas C. Foster’s novel, How to read literature like a Professor, chapter twenty explains the significance of the seasons. Foster states that, “Summer [symbolizes] adulthood and romance and fulfillment and passion,” while, “ winter [symbolizes] old age and resentment and death.” John Knowles’ book A Separate Peace, all aspects of Summer, Fall, and Winter are excellently represented as explained in Thomas C. Foster’s novel, How to read literature like a Professor.
As the novel opens, Gene is visiting his old school, Devon, and looking back at his time there, bringing back nostalgia filled memories. The story then transforms in a sort of flashback from when Gene went to Devon, in 1942. The flashback begins in the summer session at Devon. This time was freer than the harsher winter session. During the Summer session, the students, with the lack of teacher supervision, could be more childish and carefree. The students could jump from the tree, a task which usually is part of a “physical hardening regimen." This jump from the tree signifies the readiness for fighting in the war and adulthood. Without a doubt, Knowles has the boys jump from the tree during the summer session because the season of summer symbolizes adulthood therefore furthering the point that Gene and Finny are becoming adults. Jumping out of the tree also symbolizes the “summer romance” for the war, as many young boys had these rose filled thoughts of going off ...

... middle of paper ...

... of the correlation of death and winter. Knowles is a cookie cutter example of what Foster states that winter stands for, as he incorporates all elements in perfectly.
John Knowles’ novel, A Separate Peace, is a perfect example of seasonal symbolism as shown in Thomas C. Foster’s book, How to read literature like a Professor. The twentieth chapter of Forster’s novel explains, “Summer [represents] adulthood and romance and fulfillment and passion,” while, “ winter [symbolizes] old age and resentment and death.” Knowles uses the winter season to kill off Finny and show the mutual resentment between Gene and Leper. Additionally, he uses Autumn to show Finny’s physical decline. Knowles also shows the transformation into adulthood, romance for the war, and the passion of fighting and being an adult. Knowles perfectly uses the symbolism associated with many of the seasons.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Biography of John Knowles Essays

- John Knowles was born on 1962 in Fairmont, West Virginia and passed away on November 29, 2001. He was 15 years old when he became a student at Phillips Exeter Academy, a boarding school. After he graduated from there is 1945, he decided to join the war effort as part of the U.S. Army Air Force’s Aviation Cadet Program. John went to Europe and worked as a journalist until the mid 1950’s and then returned to the U.S in 1957. After returning, he took a job with the associate editor at Holiday magazine, Thornton Wilder....   [tags: American Novelist, A Separate Piece, Analysis]

Strong Essays
1515 words (4.3 pages)

Gene and Finny in A Separate Piece Essay

- In the novel A Separate Peace, the author John Knowles creates a unique relationship between the two main characters Gene Forrester and Phineas, also known as Finny. The boys have a love hate relationship, which becomes the base of the problems throughout the book. The setting of this novel, a preparatory school in New Hampshire known as Devon, creates a peaceful environment where World War will not corrupt the boys. The boys might be protected from the war, but they are not protected from each other....   [tags: John Knowles]

Free Essays
1332 words (3.8 pages)

Free College Essays - Envy in A Separate Peace

- Envy in A Separate Peace                     “People are often vain of their most criminal passions; but envy is one passion so mean and low that nobody will admit it” Francois de la Rochefoucauld(1613-1680), a French philosopher, once stated and that statement summarizes the undertone of A Separate Piece by John Knowles.  The story is set at a highly competitive boy’s school on the East Coast that sets the perfect stage to develop the storyline.  Gene’s insecurity, which led to jealousy of Finny, is the cause of the overall conflict....   [tags: A Separate Peace Essays]

Free Essays
391 words (1.1 pages)

Essay about A separate piece

- A. Title and Author - A Separate Peace by John Knowles B. Story Setting - The story starts off at the Devon school, which is a prep school in New England at 1958. But the rest of the story takes place through a flashback of his days when he was a student at Devon during 1943. C. Main Characters - Gene Forrester - Gene is the narrator of the novel and appears at two different time periods: as a middle-aged man re-visiting Devon fifteen years after being a student there, and, for the majority of the novel, as a sixteen and seventeen-year-old student during World War II....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
1775 words (5.1 pages)

The Pursue of Freedom in Literature Essay

- The notion of freedom commenced from the Athenian empire, under the leadership of Pericles in the late 5th century BC, through democracy – civic freedom. After centuries of being governed by tyrants, people were haste to concede to the ideology of democracy: the ability for one to have control in the way he/she is governed. Additionally, people coveted not only to civic freedom, but to all facets of freedom (economic freedom, religious freedom, personal freedom, etc.) for Libertas Perfundet Omnia Luce, freedom will flood all things with light....   [tags: joyce, conrad, knowles]

Strong Essays
1069 words (3.1 pages)

Essay on Personal Experiences Reflected in John Knowle´s A Separate Peace

- Influences of John Knowles What is an author’s muse. A muse can be influences from historical events, life events, or ideals. A Separate Peace written by John Knowles is a book written from his experiences and current events. He took these experiences and transferred them to his novel. Today many people appreciate his novel and its influences. John Knowles’ boarding school at Exeter, his life and experiences during World War II, and the characters’ guilt influenced his great work, A Separate Peace....   [tags: World War II, Teenager, High school]

Strong Essays
1282 words (3.7 pages)

A Separate Peace, by John Knowles Essay

- People frequently betray others because of the evil in their hearts. In A Separate Peace, John Knowles uses the pureness of the rakish Finny to portray the savage or bad side of the vulpine Gene. He also uses it to prove that peace is exceedingly difficult to acquire until a person accepts the ignorance in their own heart. That means that acceptance is the key to finding peace. Thus, Gene finds his peace when Finny forgives him and when Gene learns to forgive himself as well. Gene assumes that Finny and he despise each other, until he becomes aware of how flawless Finny really is, which Gene loathes....   [tags: A Separate Peace, John Knowles]

Strong Essays
740 words (2.1 pages)

Friendship in "A Separate Peace" by John Knowles Essay

- Friendship is one of the most important relationships that people form in all of their lives. Children build bonds when they are young and use those skills to continue fulfilling friendships for the rest of their lives. Throughout A Separate Peace, John Knowles displays the good things about close friendships but also the hardships that often occur. Gene and Finny are two boys that attend Devon school. Which is a school that closely reflects the one that Knowles attended while he was growing up....   [tags: Separate Peace, John Knowles, Friendship, ]

Strong Essays
652 words (1.9 pages)

Essay on John Knowles' A Separate Peace

- John Knowles' "A Separate Peace"       Gene, returns to the Devon School in New Hampshire, where he was a student with his friend Phineas 15 years ago, just as World War II began. The book goes back 15 years, to Gene's days with Phineas. On their first chance to jump off a huge tree into the river, Phineas, being the daredevil, goes first and Gene is the only one who follows. Gene is normally a conservative, conformist type person, but around Phineas, he consents to break the rules more often. Finny is an irregularity at Devon....   [tags: John Knowles Separate Peace Essays]

Strong Essays
1417 words (4 pages)

A Separate Peace by John Knowles Essay

- 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....   [tags: Knowles Separate Peace]

Free Essays
788 words (2.3 pages)