A Separate Peace Figurative Language Analysis

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As Herbert Hoover eloquently put it, “Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die.” War has no mercy. It takes homes, tears families apart, and steals childhoods from innocent people. Such is the case in A Separate Peace, by John Knowles. While people of seniority make all the impactful decisions that have to do with the war, the young boys of Devon School are forced to accept the realities of war and join the fight. In the novel A Separate Peace, Knowles showcases a sinister tone throughout the first pages, when Devon School is described. Using diction and figurative language, Knowles integrates this tone into Gene’s narration. Knowles utilizes figurative language throughout his description of Devon School to create a sinister tone. In the first few pages of the book, Gene, the narrator, makes his return to Devon fifteen years after his graduation.…show more content…
Gene recalls the school to be “vibrantly real while I was a student there, and then blinked out like a candle the day I left” (1). Describing the school as such gives the passage a sinister tone, since a “blinked out” candle can symbolize death or the end of something. Linking this dark simile to the school reveals Knowles’ tone and gives the reader useful insight on Gene’s emotions. While on the surface Gene’s feelings for the school seem nostalgic, ultimately he associates the school with memories of loss and despair. Knowles also contributes to the ominous tone when Gene describes the weather, saying “the wind flung wet gusts at me” (5). In this case, the wind is personified as a heartless force of nature, with no care for the narrator, Gene; hence the word “flung.” The wind being shown as such helps to illustrate how Gene is alone
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