Metaphors In "A Separate Peace"

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade September 2001

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When reading a book it is very important to read between the lines, to catch the hidden meanings and metaphors that lie within its pages. " A Separate Peace " is no exception as it is filled with metaphors which give the novel a concealed meaning and teach the reader about many things including the immense impact of World War II on people of the era. This essay will identify and explore some of them in order to further understand John Knowles' novel and the message he wanted to get across. Finny's Clothes, The Winter Carnival, Blitzball, and The Tree are all adequate examples of metaphors in this tale as they all have double meanings that bring the reader into a whole new world, one filled with mystery and wonder. Metaphors play an amazingly important role in this novel as they transform it from a plain story into a complex one, where simple things represent a greater, intricate reality.

Throughout the novel Gene looks up to and idolizes Phineas, his control, his athletic ability and overall his character. Gene needs Finny, and when Finny goes away due to his injury Gene finds himself grasping at pieces of Finny's integrity to keep himself going through the difficult days. Then one day this leads to Gene putting on Finny's clothes and for a brief while achieving his stable piece of mind, the harmony that occupies Phineas, and most important of all escape from his own turmoil.

" I had no idea why this gave me such intense relief, but it seemed, standing there in Finny's triumphant shirt, that I would never stumble through the confusions of my own character again. " ( Knowles 54 ) Finny's clothes represent a temporary escape from confusion and pain of the greater situation, therefore they depict...