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  1. #2 Title significance

    May 28, 2013 by dfrazier

    Several things could be inferred from “A Separate Peace.” This is actually a military term.  For instance, if you are allied with another country, you could refuse to fight their enemy.  This would keep you out of the fray and give you “A Separate Peace.” But what does this title mean within the novel? There is only one mention of the title within the novel, at the end of chapter 9. “It wasn’t the cider which made me surpass myself, it was this liberation we had torn from the gray encroachments of 1943, the escape we had concocted, this afternoon of momentary, illusory, special and separate peace.” What if “A Separate Peace” were taken literally, as in changing “Peace” to “Piece?”  This title would make much more sense.  Devon seems like it is separate fro the world.  The entire world is at war, while all the boys at Devon while still in their youth are at peace. This also shows how that not only Devon is separate from the world, but that the youth of that time period were also different from the older generation of that time. The older generation of men seem to be more at war than the boys who will eventually go on to fight in the war.  We know this because Mr. Hadley complains and says how jealous he is of the boys for being able to fight.

  2. #8 War/Peace

    May 28, 2013 by dfrazier

    One element of these opposite words is how In the beginning, Gene is violent (War) and makes Finny fall off the tree. However, in the end, he admits his crimes to Finny and becomes very peaceful with him. This is shows yet again the main example of how Gene changes dramatically in the novel.

    Another element of these opposite words is how Gene is peaceful in the sense that he enjoys sitting in the peace and quite, while on the other hand, Finny is somewhat opposite.  Finny is very athletic and active, so in this situation he represents war.

    A third element is how Leper joins the ski soldiers because he enjoys skiing.  Skiing brings peace to Leper and so he thinks that by joining the ski soldiers, he will gain at least a little bit of peace.  However, he doesn’t take into consideration the “soldier” part or the “war” part so this makes Leper go insane. Hence his section 8 discharge.

    A fourth element is how there is a peaceful and violent part of Finny. Though Finny is athletic, his athletics bring him peace.  Through out most of the novel, Finny doesn’t believe that the war is real, or at least he doesn’t want to believe it. But by the end, he realizes that it is real and come to accept it. This mainly shows his peaceful side, the reader does see however that Finny can accept the violence of his time.

    Another great example of these opposite words is the seasons of Devon.  In the summer, every thing id relaxed and laid back, this represents peace.  But when winter comes around, everything is much more strict and organized.  Just like the strictness and organization of an army, winter represents war.

  3. #6 Ten favorite quotes

    May 28, 2013 by dfrazier

    “Nothing endures. Not a tree. Not love. Not even death by violence.” I really like this quote because it kind of relates to some thing that I live by.  If I ever do something bad or something of that nature, I just tell myself, “It won’t endure.  A couple months from now, no one will even remember this bad thing that I have done.
    “Everything has to evolve or else it perishes.” This sparks an interest in me because it is a basic rule of life. I enjoy scientific studies, and though this novel doesn’t really have anything to do with science, I still like this quote for that particular reason.
    “Always say some prayers at night because it might turn out that there is a God.” Religion is always a touchy subject for a lot of people, especially inAmerica.  I was surprised that Knowles included something like this in his novel, being that it could be a very risky move. Some people could take offence in one way or another. This is one of the reasons that I like this quote.  Knowles didn’t play it safe by excluding anything religious, he took a risk and I like that.
    “Everyone has a moment in history which belongs particularly to him.” When Finny mentioned this in the novel, I thought it was ironic and a little sad at the same time. He had several opportunities to have his moment, like when he beat the 10 meter freestyle time.  But he just passed it by.  It made me wonder why Finny didn’t enjoy taking credit for the achievements of some of his talents when he had the chance.


    “I lost part of myself to him then, and a soaring sense of freedom revealed that this must have been my purpose from the first: to become a part of Phineas.” This moment in the story is one of the most important in my opinion.  Gene and Finny’s relationship grow when Gene takes Finny’s place in athletic activities.  I enjoy this quote because Though it was an accident, Gene still wanted to repay Finny for causing his accident. This is what true friendship looks like.
    “…Finny’s life was ruled by inspiration and anarchy, and so he prized a set of rules. His own,not those imposed on him by other people…” I like this because it is yet another ironic quote.  Finny isn’t one to follow rules yet here his best friend talks about how he has mad his own rules for himself.  Even though he probably even breaks those rules often.


    “…up went the hope that there was anyone in this school – in this world – whom I could trust” This is another quote that I like for the reason that it is something that I live by. I very rarely will ever trust anyone.  The human mind can often be very corrupt with thoughts of greed and other deadly sins.  This is a great reason to not trust anyone at all.
    “You want to break something else in me! Is that why you’re here?” In almost every type f complex relationship, there are always down points.  This is a quote that represents the down point in the relation ship between Finny and Gene.  I like this quote mainly because thought it is a down point, we know that the relationship will heal into something even stronger than before.
     “I did not cry then or ever about Finny.…I could not escape a feeling that this was my own funeral, and you do not cry in that case”  I really like this quote because it shows just how great of fiends Finny and Gene were.  They were so close that Gene feels like he is literally a part of Finny. I could only wish for a friendship like this.
     “You want to break something else in me! Is that why you’re here?”  This is a very interesting quote because Finny says something IN him.  I like this because Finny means something related to feelings instead of appendages.


  4. #5 A major change in the main characer

    May 24, 2013 by dfrazier

    In “A Separate Peace,” our main character, Gene, changes majorly in the middle of a novel.  At the beginning, Gene is a very self-disciplined individual. He is very academic, and one of his main goals is to be valedictorian of his class.  By the end of the book however, Gene is much more different.  He is not exactly opposite from how he was in the beginning, for instance he wasn’t a slacker but just different in the sense that he seemed more mature or a little wiser than he was in the beginning. But what exactly caused this change? There are several different event that happened to Gene that could have made hi change, and people could argue over which event exactly changed his maturity level.  Some of those events that people would consider are when Gene pushed Finny out of the tree, or when Gene experienced Leper’s insanity and how he was effected by the war.  In my opinion however, I believe that an entirely different event led to the increased wisdom of Gene.  This event is when his best friend Finny died.  Whenever the typical human loses someone that they love very dearly, they generally feel an extreme amount of sorrow and weep over the death of that loved one.  However, Gene reacts in an entirely different way.  Not once does he ever cry for Finny, and because of this I believe that Gene and his character changed dramatically.

  5. #1 Plot Summary

    May 22, 2013 by dfrazier

    In “A Separate Peace,” we find a man traveling through a neighborhood in New England traveling to an old school of his, Devon.  As he visits the school, old memories begin to be stirred up from the past and we begin to see the beginning of a very long flashback.  This flashback is mainly the entire book.   During this flashback we see all of the major events of this man’s, Gene’s, childhood in its last moments. We find that Gene was a very academic kid, and how his friend Finny was a very athletic.  One major event that we see is the first time that Finny breaks his leg.  At Devon, the summer sessions were the most unorganized.  Boys ran around aimlessly with all of the freedom in the world, so naturally boys being boys; they all found something rather dangerous to do.  The created a club of sorts, “The Super Suicide Society,” and for this club every single night they have to jump into the Devon River.  One day Finny and Gene decide to go together at the same time.  This naturally ends in disaster, Finny falls from the tree and breaks his leg, this ends his athletic career forever.  But how he falls is rather interesting.  According to Gene, he “jounces” the limb as Finny was preparing to jump.  This unfortunately later causes conflict in their relationship.  Another major event that we see in Gene’s childhood is when he visits his friend Leper in Vermont.  Leper had previously been enlisted in the ski troops, but as Gene had discovered from visiting him in Vermont, Leper had received a “Section 8 discharge.” This basically meant that Leper had been discharged due to insanity.  Leper ends up telling Gene about his insanity and how people treated him due to his discharge.  He even described what sort of hallucinations he experienced due to his insanity.  All of this made Gene extremely uncomfortable and so he snapped at Leper saying, “Do you think I want to hear every gory detail! Shut Up!” (151) a final major event of Gene’s childhood, and perhaps the last event of his childhood is when his best friend died Finny died.  Finny dome how managed to break his leg a second time, however this time it was a clean break all the way through the bone.  Dr. Stanpole eventually tried to set the bone back in its proper place and in the process, some of Finny’s bone marrow escaped from the bone and into his blood stream.  It traveled though the blood stream all the way to his heart which stopped it and led to his unfortunate death.  The most interesting thing about this event however was not Finny’s death, but Gene’s reaction to Finny’s death.  When Dr. Stanpole told him the news, Gene never cried about it.  Not a single time throughout his entire life did he ever cry about Finny’s death, not even at Finny’s funeral did he even cry.  I think that this is when Gene had transitioned from being a child to a fully matured and grown adult.  This transition was also a great place for Knowles to end his story.

  6. #9 Theme

    May 22, 2013 by dfrazier

    “A Separate Peace” is a novel that I find interesting.  There are many books about WWII, however there are not many that are quite like this.  There are few to none novels that depict the life of the average American teen during the war before they are drafted.  This is a novel like many others that teaches that life isn’t always sunshine and happiness, however the way that this novel teaches this lesson is also a very unique factor.  The way that this lesson is taught is through the slowly growing relationship between two boys who go through military school. Life isn’t always sunshine and happiness because one of the boys gets his leg broken twice.  Right before his death, the two boy’s relationships are at their strongest.  This climax in the two boy’s relationships is caused by the realization that the first time Finny broke his leg was a complete accident though it was mainly caused by Gene. After they agree on this, their trust and friendship in one another grows to be very strong and Finny ends up forgiving Gene. This show us what I believe to be one of the many themes, even in the darkest of times there is always a little bit of light. “It was just some kind of blind impulse you had in the tree there, you didn’t know what you were doing”… “I believe you. It’s okay because I understand and I believe you” (Knowles, 191)

  7. #10 General book review

    May 21, 2013 by dfrazier

    My experiences with “A Separate Peace” are overwhelmingly positive.  I myself am generally a war novel fanatic anyways, but this novel in particular brings something a little more to the table.  Throughout reading this novel, I found myself having a special connection with Gene, almost as if I could relate to him.  Though I’m not in military school, I still feel like we have specific things in common.  Because of this connection with Gene, I enjoyed this book very much.  In my opinion however, some changes could have been made.  After Leper leaves, the reader pretty much never expects him to return to Devon.  However, Knowles decides to randomly insert him back onto the Devon campus for the the courtroom scene that would later occur.  I think Knowles could have done a little bit better of a job in bringing him back into the story.  For example, instead of Finny just randomly spotting him in some bushes after chapel, Leper could have sent another note to Gene asking him to sneak him back on campus.  He would of course have to smuggled in because of his section 8 discharge. Other than this minor flaw, I think that Knowles did an amazing job with his work and I thoroughly enjoyed every word of it.  I would recommend this novel to absolutely anyone.

  8. #4 Ideas about the main character

    May 17, 2013 by dfrazier

    Within “A Separate Peace,” we find that Gene is a very academic individual.  The entire book is a flashback of his memories of attending Devon so naturally it is a first-person point of view from Gene when he was in school.  Because the future Gene is the narrator, it almost seem like a First person omniscient. The narrator is at least much more omniscient than the school boy Gene.  Throughout the book, Gene compares himself to his best friend Finny numerous times.  At the beginning he believes that he is better than Finny because he was very academic and average in athletics and Finny was terrible in academics and very good at athletics.  However by the end of the book, Gene compares himself in the sense that he thinks that they are both practically the same person.  Because of this difference between the beginning and end of the book,we see that there is a major difference in Gene’s opinion of the relationship between him and Finny.  In the beginning, he thinks that Finny is trying to be better than him by distracting him from school work, but by the end he realizes that Finny was only trying to get him to enjoy life instead of studying all the time.  I particularly like Gene because of his academic ability.  Whenever a really great point is made in the book, its always from Gene and I always enjoy the points that are made.  One point that I find interesting is how Gene described attending Finny’s funeral as attending his own because he thought they were such similar people. One thing that I  don’t like about Gene however is that he is too dependent on others.  Too many times throughout the novel, we find that Gene does exactly what Finny tells him to do.  Gene should have been more independent and made some of his own decisions instead of doing things that Finny wanted him to do like going to the beach.  Gene didn’t want to go and should have made the independent decision to just not go.  He went anyways only because Finny wanted him to.  This is really the only thing that I dislike about Gene.  Overall, Gene is a really interesting character and I like him a lot, and mainly because I almost feel like I can even relate to him.



  9. #3 Setting and Genre in “A Separate Peace”

    May 8, 2013 by dfrazier

    The setting in “A Separate Peace” is somewhat unique in the sense that some parts of it are nonfictional while others are fictional.  Those parts that are nonfictional are the time period, 1942, and the state, New Hampshire.  To create the setting that Knowles really wants for his novel, he creates his own school for the setting, Devon’s school for boys.  This is the part of the setting that is fictional because it does not exist.  This school that Knowles has created for New Hampshire within his own imagination is supposed to be a school of strict rules and orderly conduct.  This is at least how it is portrayed to the general public, but on the inside it is in disorder.  Rules are rarely followed and the students can get away with almost anything. Because the main part of the setting is fictional, I believe that this story could have still happened never the less.  It is quite odd that Finny thought that the war was all a big hoax, but I still think that this story could have still been true.  I believe this mainly because there are very many skeptics around the world that are skeptic about everything.  Some people don’t believe that a man landed on the moon.  Others even believe that 9/11 is a conspiracy put on by the government to tighten security in airports.  So just like there are skeptics today, there could have definitely been skeptics of the war in 1942.


  10. #7 Truths about human nature from “A Separate Peace”

    May 7, 2013 by dfrazier

    Within this novel, we find that several truths of human nature are revealed.  One such truth is that most humans will accept all or most “Dares” that another sets before them. In the novel, Finny winds up pressuring Gene into jumping out of a tree that hangs over the Devon river.  Being that Gene doesn’t want to lose Finny’s friendship,  he accepts the challenge and jumps. The problem with this is that later Finny gets hurt because of this tree challenge.
    A second truth would be that humans will often break rules. We see this truth within the novel when Finny convinces Gene to wonder off campus for the day to visit the beach.  Even though the rules are very clear at Devon that it is against the rules to leave campus, Gene and Finny still go.  This situation however has a separate outcome than the first.  Within this situation, though one of the teachers at Devon find out about the trip, neither of the boys are hurt or get into trouble.
    The third and final truth that we find within the novel is that man will always have some sort of debt to pay.  We find this in the novel when Gene and Finny both feel that Gene is indebted to Finny.  After Finny’s accident, Gene eventually admits that it was his fault that Finny fell from the tree.  Because Finny will never be able to play sports again, Gene must repay his debt to Finny by playing sports for Finny.



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