The theme in A Separate Peace is that people create enemies in their mind for themselves to destroy, but once the enemy is lost so is the victor. While World War II lingers on in the background of most of the students minds, the war in Gene's life is within himself. In Knowles perspective, through the character of Gene, everyone goes through a war in his life and there is always an enemy to be defeated. Gene is in a constant war with his "best friend," Finny, over who can be better, except that Finny doesn't even know he is part of the battle until it takes his life. Finny, being the essence of innocence, believes that no one could possibly be his enemy because he has done nothing wrong. However how could Finny have lived in such a world where his innately pure spirit puts him above a war soaked world?
Gene's internal war is similar to Neil's war in the movie Dead Poets Society. Neil's decisions of what he wants to do with his life conflict with the ideas and plans that his father has for him. However this conflict is displayed aloud and both parties know that they are part of the conflict. In the end, instead of silencing the enemy, Neil decides to end the war by destroying himself. Similar to the alternative in A Separate Peace where Gene defeats his enemy, Neil's father lost his 'enemy' and still lost the war.
The conflicts in A Separate Peace are major. The major conflict entails the problem of Finney falling from the tree and breaking his leg bones. He falls from the tree at the Super Suicide Meeting, during a nightly river jump, onto the riverbank. Although he is expected to make a good...