Levels of Peace
John Knowles' novel A Separate Peace is a coming-of-age story set in a private New England boys' school during World War II. The novel traces Gene Forrester's search for identity as he shares adolescent experiences with his closest friend, Phineas. The novel's title is tied closely to the theme of the novel and finds meaning on a number of different levels of the story.
The Devon School is removed from the events of the outside world. It is calm and undisturbed. Boys can have normal worries such as school work and sports instead of battle. Teachers have a laid back attitude, loosening the normal discipline level. The faculty wishes to see the peaceful activities of boys rather than the hardening of young men for war.
Phineas possesses his own separate peace throughout the story. He believes that it is fat old men who don't want to be crowded out of their jobs who have created the war.
He has created an elaborate theory to shield himself because he can not participate in the war himself. Phineas does not want to be left out of the war, and by believing it is a hoax he is not missing out.
Leper, the most cautious and peaceful of all the boys is the first to enlist. The boys create stories every time there is news about the war. They make up tales of how Leper saves the day, and believe if he is over fighting this war any of them could succeed. The war is not real to them, but a task in which anyone can participate.
In conclusion, in A Separate Peace there are many different examples which are significantly connected to the title. The boys and staff find peace away from the reality of war. They keep...