Diction In John Knowles A Separate Peace

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The author, John Knowles, in the novel, “A Separate Peace”, conveys the lesson of friendship, or rather the lack of, with his use of diction. The strategy in which the author phrased certain sections of dialogue between Finny and Gene is there to show that Finny cares for Gene despite Gene’s obvious discontent. The friendship is a one-way street, and the author uses diction to represent this unbalance in the relationship, leading to friendship being a key theme throughout the book.
There exist many examples of this diction throughout the novel, one of these is during their illegal beach trip. “I hope you’re having a pretty good time here. I know I kind of dragged you away at the point of a gun, but after all you can’t come to the shore with just anybody and you can’t come by yourself, and at this teen-age period in life the proper person is your best pal. Which is what you are.” (Knowles, 40). The whole narrative is said awkwardly, which is odd since it is conveyed to the reader only by text. This is a sign
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The author writing Finny’s dialogue always assumes the innocence of Gene, no matter the sentence. It is the clearest in this excerpt: “‘Yes, I remember seeing you standing on the bank. You were looking up and your hair was plastered down over your forehead so you had that dumb look you always have when you’ve been in the water - what was it you said? ‘Stop posing up there’ or one of those best-pal cracks you’re always making.’ He was very happy.” (Knowles, 163). Saying that Gene had nothing to do with his fall made him happy in itself. It shows the trust and loyalty of Finny through the connotation of the sentence. The author choosing Finny to ‘remember’ specific and fond details about Gene. In this example, the author chooses to use word choice as a way to paint the connotation of a sentence to display the loyalty and friendship of Finny to
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