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...