A Separate Peace

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Throughout the novel, A Separate Peace, the author John Knowles conveys many messages of symbolism. The symbolism can be found in an array of ways, ranging from internal war, to the theme of human aggression, and a variety of religious principles. The main characters, Gene and Phineas, and their story could be paralleled to the biblical story of Adam and Eve. The similarities can be seen in the way in which in both of the stories, everyone is living in perfect harmony and peace until something comes along to disrupt it. Also in how the main characters do something out of jealousy, greed, and selfishness; and in addition, how Finny's fall out of a tree relates to the “Fall of Mankind.” Adam was the first man that God created and was created to be the image of God himself. God planted the beautiful Garden of Eden in which there was no sin and the trees were filled with delicious fruits, everything a person would need to eat. In the middle of the garden was the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” One day, a serpent came into the garden and convinced Eve to eat an apple from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge. The fruit did not make Adam and Eve any better than they already were. Instead, the jealousy, the desire to eat what was forbidden—and then the physical eating of the fruit that was forbidden—allowed sin to enter humanity. God punished Adam and Eve, and all their descendants, by making their lives hard. Likewise, in the novel, peace and innocence left the Devon school and Gene and Finny's friendship, and after the winter session, discipline and hard work began. Eve eating the apple can be paralleled to Gene jostling the limb of the tree while Phineas was standing on the edge of it for in that second, both of their lives ch... ... middle of paper ... ... his guilt. Upon returning to the Devon school, he said that, “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.” This statement reflects how broken down the guilt and remorse has made him even after all these years. Symbolism is very prominent over the course of this story, giving it that much more meaning. Knowles makes not only one, but several instances to religious principles and more precisely in this case, Adam and Eve. These of jealousy, greed, and selfishness are prominent throughout both stories as well is a significant fall whether it would be as monstrous as humanity or on the smaller scale of relationships. The disruption of peace and harmony are also evident in the two. In addition, it is interesting how the author finds a way to tie them all into each other.

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