John Knowle's "A Separate Peace".

Essay by iamwashableHigh School, 10th gradeA+, May 2003

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Often in a work of literature, a character's experiences and realizations offer a reader a greater understanding of human behavior and emotion. John Knowle's A Separate Peace, the character Gene has experiences with life shattering events and he eventually understands the boys' separate peace. His ultimate healing represent the pathway from adolescent immaturity to adult understanding. John Knowles gives the reader clues and information to help the reader understand this.

Gene's character is introduced into the story as an obsessive thinker, with this, he is one of the few boys who realize that Devon has it's own separate peace. Gene is preoccupied with the " unforgiving, foolish gypsy ways" of the summer session (Knowles 65). As he "had almost caught the rhythm of it, the dancing, the clicking, jangle of it" he virtually forgets about the war (Knowles 65). This is only temporary though, as with the ending of the summer session, Gene begins the difficult and emotional journey of transcending into adulthood.

The cold reality of life and the war slowly begin to seep into Gene and his small-secluded New Hampshire town.

Gene's many tragic experiences at Devon give him more knowledge about the unforgiving world that lies outside of his isolated hometown. The first unfortunate event that happens to Gene is when Finny falls of the great old tree and " hit(s) the bank with a sickening, unnatural thud" (Knowles 52). Finny's shattered leg results in him permanently unable to play sports. Knowles uses Phineas as a representation of the light and immaturity of summer. Once Finny is injured, all of this changes. Gene is also haunted by the guilt of jouncing the tree's limb, causing Finny's disability.

Yet another hapless event is when Gene finds out about Leper's leave from the war. Leper's new condition was...