Coming Of Age In John Knowles A Separate Piece

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A Separate Piece, by John Knowles, is a coming of age novel that follows the development of the main character, Gene Forester, a junior at an exclusive boy’s school in New England. This extract focuses on Gene moving on from Devon and moving on from Phineas. As Gene looks back on his days at Devon, he begins to accept the mistake he made. Not the mistake of pushing Finny off the tree, but the mistake of misunderstanding their friendship. By the end of the novel, Gene has discovered himself. He discovers that he has his own identity. He no longer will live his life as Finny did. He is ready for war. “I was ready for war…” Gene becomes ready for war after leaving Devon behind. When he left Devon behind, he felt like he was leaving Finny behind too. Gene knows he must head into his future, including war. Through the entire book, Finny seems like he is untouched by evil. This is so because he lived in his small happy bubble and chose not let evil in because he could not handle it. “Nothing as he was growing up at home, nothing at Devon, nothing even about the war had broken…show more content…
Maginot Lines are lines of defense. The line of defense between Gene and Finny was finally understood. “… all except Phineas, constructed at infinite cost to themselves these Maginot Lines… this enemy who never attacked that way-if he ever attacked at all…” Because of Gene’s jealousy of Finny, he saw Finny as an enemy, but at the end he realized that Finny was an ally. The Maginot Line was really just a conflict he had with himself, not with Finny. Throughout the novel, the war keeps showing its face. Sometimes when the war is discussed in this book, it is actually about World War II, but other times, the war is a metaphor representing the relationship between Gene and Finny. This extract is telling us about Gene’s transition to war and him moving on from Finny and Devon. Gene accepts that he must look into his future rather than his past life at
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