A Separate Peace Theme Analysis

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Adolescence is the foundation to the rest of a person’s life. A Separate Peace by John Knowles illustrates this concept by starring Gene Forrester, an attendant of the Devon School for Boys in New England, during WWII. Gene’s best friend is Finny, though it becomes clear that their relationship is toxic as Gene becomes jealous of Finny and ends up purposefully hurting him out of this jealousy. As the boys approach their last year at Devon, they bond during the lazy summer session of school whereas mature during the strict, forceful winter session. This forcefulness pushes the idea of the Winter Carnival, a separate peace for the boys, where they don’t have to think of the future and raging war. Although the festivities of the winter carnival…show more content…
War as a theme is even in the prizes, one being, “…the Iliad with the English translation of each sentence written above it...” The Iliad’s main theme is war itself. The fact it is one of the prizes integrated into the boys’ so called peace reveals how there is even an indirect link to their peace and the war. Another parallel between the boys and soldiers is shown with, “…Brinker’s file of Betty Grable photographs…” Often soldiers have pictures of their sweethearts or pinup girls, such as Betty Grable, for self-indulgence. Brinker having this file creates another parallel between the boys and soldiers, as both most likely use these pictures for pleasure and a way of escape from their current situations. One of the last prizes was, “…a forged draft registration card…” The boys use the card to prove that they are over the age of 18 in attempt to procure alcohol. Although included for this purpose, this screams how the war is real and very valid in most people’s eyes if they are willing to trust a registration card for evidence of age. This destroys the concept that the boys have that there is no war, as they believe that, “The fat old men…They’ve made it all up.” thus destroying their separate peace. War is even present in the carnival, even the prizes possess some semblance of
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