John Knowles 's A Separate Peace Essay

John Knowles 's A Separate Peace Essay

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War and Rivalry in “A Separate Peace” by John Knowles
John Knowles, the author of “A Separate Peace” novel, was born in 1926 in West Virginia, Fairmont to be specific. The book was first published in 1960. Though it was Knowles’ first book, surprisingly the novel won great awards and hence lots of audience in the United States of America. The story is centered on a teenager named Devon, schooling at Phillips Exeter Academy. He writes: “But, of course, fifteen years before there had been a war going on. Perhaps the school wasn’t as well kept up in those days; perhaps varnish, along with everything else, had gone to war” (Knowles 1). The essay will expound that the novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles centers its foundational theme on the war and rivalry and the transition from childhood to adulthood.
War and rivalry are an issue that comes out very clearly in the novel. The book was written almost a year after the bombing where 2000 US soldiers were killed. It was a brutal attack by the Japanese. World War II is almost beginning, and none of the teenage boys at the school could escape. It brings out a clear indication of the difference between childhood and adulthood. Childhood is characterized by sports such as football and basketball, and athletics. The transition from childhood to adulthood is a clear indication of coming-of-age. Adulthood is marked by war and rivalry in the society and the world at large. A significant support from the novel to this is Gene’s arguments that: "Nothing endures, not a tree, not love, not even death by violence. Changed, I headed back through the mud. I was drenched; anybody could see it was time to come in out of the rain" (Knowles 2). This is a clear indication that nothing escapes or surviv...


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...rate Peace by John Knowles is based and centered on war, rivalry, and the transformations from childhood to adulthood life. The novel, through all its chapters, has advanced considerably on the theme of war and rivalry and Coming-of-Age. Through various instances in the book, we get to learn the impacts of war. The story has used this fact to symbolize various notions. Knowles has made us understand the rivalry that existed between Gene and Finny. The kind of conflicts and enmity between them ends up with Finny’s tragic fall. It is clear that Coming-of-Age, individual’s life change greatly. Gene hence is left guilty and ashamed of his actions. It is evident that one must fight the forces of childhood innocence and face the harsh realities of adulthood. A Separate Peace, therefore, is a novel based on the tremendous transitions witnessed as one advance in adult life.

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