"Seperate Peace" essay in John Knowles

Essay by AntisaedistHigh School, 10th gradeA+, February 1997

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Thesis: The five main characters in John Knowles' A Separate

Peace represent social stereotypes, according to some


In his book A Separate Peace, John Knowles represents jocks

with Phineas, a character who believes that sports are the key to

life. Phineas is more of a sportsman than a jock. Real jocks only

care about winning, Phineas makes sure it's not possible for

anyone to win or lose.

Chet Douglas is an exaggerated prep, just like Phineas is an

exaggerated jock. He is obsessed with learning just for the sake

of learning. No real hardcore prep thinks that way! Chet Douglas

lives in his own educational world. He's so absorbed in this

alternate reality in which Calculus has a justified existence that

he forgets what the school is trying to teach him, and actually

goes out and seeks more academia than what the school is already

shoving down his and everyone else's throat.

The standard prep is

only concerned with being on the top of the Honor Roll, so that

everybody's parents can marvel at how smart (s)he is.

There is one character that fits into no stereotype. 'Leper'

Lepillier is an individualist. Individualists are people who don't

conform to social norms just for the sake of being accepted by

others. Real individualists are not those

people with blue and green hair you see on talk shows. Those

people conform to a subculture, something that was less common

during World War II. The real individualists of the world are

quickly disappearing, as conformity becomes more popular. I

haven't met any real individualists, so I can't say whether or not

Knowles exaggerates Lepillier's lack of stereotype.

In modern society, there is pressure on individualists to

conform to the most prominent subculture in the local area (I

think). Those who...