A Review Of John Knowles 'A Separate Peace'

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A Separate Peace, written by John Knowles, is an anti-war novel. Throughout it, the author describes how World War II negatively affects daily life. He describes the way in which the war steals the innocence of the schoolboys who attend Devon School. In addition, one student, Leper Lepellier, begins to think irrationally during his enlistment, and one of the main characters, Finny, even goes as far as saying that the war is fabricated. These examples exemplify why A Separate Peace is an anti-war novel in the sense that it illustrates the negative effects that war has even on people who are not directly fighting it. To begin, Knowles illustrates the war impacting many different aspects of daily life at Devon. Brinker, one of the popular students …show more content…

In the novel, Leper Lepellier behaves irrationally during bootcamp prior to serving in the war. He sobs to Gene in a distorted voice, “And the perfect word for me is psycho. I must be. Because [the army] turned everything inside out,” (Knowles 150). Leper describes how he could not sleep in the right place or eat at the right time. He even began to imagine things, like a man’s face changing into a woman’s face. Knowles is acknowledging that the war makes some people distraught, and he is suggesting that even “normal” people may suffer some kind of breakdown in a military environment. On the other hand, there is Finny who believes that the war was fabricated by, “fat, rich old men to keep young people in line,” (Knowles 115). He explains to Gene how these men also made up the Great Depression, which was a negative time in history. In saying that these major events were fake, Finny shows his irrationality. Here, Finny may represent the group of people who find war to be so abhorrent that they refuse to acknowledge that it even exists. This suggests that war was so horrible, some do not even want to think it is

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