There is a substantial difference in the way Goodbye, Columbus and A Separate Peace, both published in 1959, address the theme of sex; what there is galore in Philip Roth's novel, is conspicuously absent in the work of John Knowles. Apparently, sexuality was still a taboo at the time, and both books treat it as such: e.g., the discovery that their daughter is no longer a virgo intacta topples the world of the older Patimkins in Goodbye, Columbus (at least the father's sentiment seems to be genuine; whether "Mother Patimkin's" shock and subsequent outburst of indignation are equally unfeigned can be argued). Still, Roth's novel is fairly realistic in explicating sexuality as a driving motif behind its characters' actions, which cannot be said about A Separate Peace. Indeed, sex is a nonentity in the novel of John Knowles; the fact could have been explained by the strict discipline of the Devon prep school, had it not been for The Catcher in the Rye--the book that shows what a significant part of prep school life sex, indeed, was. There is only a few years' interval between the time of the action of these two novels--definitely not enough for morals to loosen so dramatically. One can but conclude that even for a book to have been published in 1959 A Separate Peace is remarkably chaste.
There is only one suggestive reference in the novel of John Knowles--the episode when Finny ignores Gene's warning that wearing a pink should could make him look like a fairy. Of course, the relationship between Finny and Gene itself can be interpreted askance: in his study on A Separate Peace Hallman Bryant draws attention to the analysis of George-M...
... middle of paper ...
...elationship of Brenda and Neil is smothered by the profoundest egotism reflected in their preoccupation with the material aspects of being.
It would be interesting to see what A Separate Peace would look like if the physical aspect of love in it was not superseded by sports. The dynamics of the character suggests that Finny, infinitely free as he is, knowing no fear, and majestically comfortable with breaking the rules, would be more than likely to have transgressed by the age of seventeen--out of sheer curiosity and goodness, in a Tom Jones way.
Bryant, Hallman. A Separate Peace: the War Within. Boston: G.K. Hall & Co, 1990.
Halio, Jay L. Philip Roth Revisited. New York: Twayne, 1992.
Knowles, John. A Separate Peace. New York: Macmillan, 1961.
Roth, Philip. Goodbye, Columbus. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1959.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- In John Knowles’ novel, A Separate Peace, Gene and Phineas strive to find their true selves which is normal for teenagers. The Greek poet and playwright Sophocles suggest that humans never reach a full realization of who they are as individuals until they find another human being with whom the person can share themselves with. This story starts with Gene as an adult reflecting on how he no longer considers places at Devon fearful anymore. Over the course of Gene and Phineas’ friendship, Gene accumulates guilt and jealousy which fabricates fearful places.... [tags: A Separate Peace, Jealousy, Anxiety, John Knowles]
1288 words (3.7 pages)
- World War II, the major historical event during the life of John Knowles, the author of A Separate Peace, started in 1939. Germany instigated the war, and shortly afterward was joined by Japan and Italy. America, however, fought on the side of The Allies, England and France. Although the United States was still recovering from the Great Depression, it entered the war after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The military drafted men into the war, and women took their places in the work force, people abandoned the old way of life and looked forward to a new one.... [tags: A Separate Peace Essays]
2067 words (5.9 pages)
- John Knowles' "A Separate Peace" and Struggle for Power John Knowles' A Separate Peace depicts many examples of how power is used. In A Separate Peace, two opposing characters struggle for their own separate might. Gene Forrester, the reserved narrator, is weakened by his struggle for power. While, Phineas was inspired by his own power within. The novel conveys how peace can weaken or inspire during a mental war. Phineas, a natural rebel, is known as the best athlete in school. For example, he and three others come to look at a tree, which is considered among the Upper Middler students at Devon an impossibility.... [tags: Knowles Separate Peace Power Essays]
800 words (2.3 pages)
- The quote, “Ignorance is bliss,” by Thomas Gray is a seemingly adequate description of the lives of Gene, Finny, and Leper until they are all roughly jolted out of their fantasy world and brought back to reality. In A Separate Peace, John Knowles does an acceptable job of showing how disillusionment can greatly impact and, thus, change the lives of people. The book showcases the cycle of disillusionment and the ramifications it implies. Throughout the book, we see Gene, Leper, and Finny’s views on the world change.... [tags: John Knowles, Literary Analysis]
1214 words (3.5 pages)
- A Separate Peace: Nature of Man The greatest battles of humanity are often not merely a clash of arms, but a quiet, vast conflict in the human heart. Similarly, actions in the world are thoughts made into reality, and feelings turned into motion. It is terrible to realize that war in all its evils is often a pure expression of something sinister within. A Separate Peace by John Knowles intimately explores the depths within humanity to uncover the essence of human nature. The novel is focuses on the solitary and intelligent narrator Gene Forester and his best friend, the athletic Phineas, or Finny.... [tags: Literature]
1624 words (4.6 pages)
- The quote, “Ignorance is bliss,” by Thomas Gray is a seemingly adequate description of the lives of Gene, Finny, and Leper until they are all roughly jolted out of their fantasy world and brought back to reality. In A Separate Peace, John Knowles does an acceptable job of showing how disillusionment can greatly impact and, thus, change the lives of people. The book showcases the cycle of disillusionment and the ramifications it implies. Throughout the book, we see Gene, Leper, and Finny’s views on the world change.... [tags: Impact of Disillusionment]
1215 words (3.5 pages)
- 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.... [tags: World War II, War, Phillips Exeter Academy]
1460 words (4.2 pages)
- Maintaining A Complacent Outlook in A Separate Peace by John Knowles During times of struggle, many people turn to different mentalities in order to deal with the problems they face. In the case of Separate Peace, by John Knowles, this mindset is one of living in peace and harmony. The main characters, Phineas and Gene, encounter strains on their close relationship by Phineas displaying this outlook. During the novel, World War II is raging and at the peaceful Devon School for boys there is a gloom knowing that many of the students and their friends could be drafted for the war at any time.... [tags: Papers]
619 words (1.8 pages)
- 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]
1775 words (5.1 pages)
- 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]
1332 words (3.8 pages)
- Artificial Intelligence in Gibson's Idoru and Oshii's Ghost in the Shell
- Essay Comparing Solzhenitsyn's Gulag and Camus' The Stranger (The Outsider)
- Tennyson's Princess - The Woman's Cause Is Man's
- Crime and Punishment and Raskolnikov's article, On Crime
- The Enduring Wisdom in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels and Alexander Pope's An Essay on Man
- Analysis of Dracula and the Vampire Myth