Separate Peace Challenges

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In the fictional novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles, two ‘best friends’ Gene and Finny face many challenges while they are attending Devon School. The story takes place in 1943, which is during World War II. Because of this, the overall challenge shown throughout the book that affects not only them, but everyone, is the encroaching war that interrupts and gradually dominates their lives. No matter how hard the boys try to live normally, they are faced with doing work for the war, seeing friends make decisions about enlisting, and watching as eventually the war takes over not only Devon’s Far Common, but their entire lives. In the beginning, as small encounters with the war start to happen, the boys did not take it seriously. When …show more content…

After they worked on the railroad, Brinker and Gene even discussed enlisting together. On page 100, Gene tells of his opinion of enlisting by saying, “To enlist. To slam the door impulsively on the past, to shed everything down to my last bit of clothing, to break the pattern of my life— that complex design I had been weaving since birth with all its dark threads, its unexplainable background of domestic white and schoolboy blue, all those tangled strands which required the dexterity of a virtuoso to keep flowing— I yearned to take giant military shears to it, snap!” Gene had started to feel that enlisting would be exciting, no matter how drastically it would change his life. Gene was not the only one contemplating enlisting, in-fact, Leper went ahead and was the first student at Devon to enlist. It happens after he is shown a video by a recruiter from the ski troops, and on page 124 Gene narrates Lepers decision by saying, “To Leper it revealed what all of us were seeking: a recognizable and friendly face to the war,” (Knowles.) As the war started to have more of an impact at Devon, it is even shown as something easy and inviting. Quickly, the war had become a major topic discussed at Devon, and bigger encounters were …show more content…

On page 196, Gene describes, “The far Common could be seen from the window of my room, and early in June I stood at the window and watched the war moving in to occupy it.” With the troops using Devon’s Far Common, and everyone graduating to be sent finally into the war, the realness of the war became apparent to Gene. A quote from the test analysis on Sparknotes.com expands on this by saying, “The novel ends on an appropriately dark note, as the war invades Devon. Although the characters have felt the war descending upon the school throughout the book, the incursion is literal this time, as soldiers set up camp on campus,” (SparkNotes Editors.) The war was something the boys had not taken seriously, but finally since it was time for them to leave Devon it became something they would have to face and deal with. The reality of it was shown to them, as they watched the troops arriving to the school. The war had now become something they would have to base their lives off of. The war had slowly taken over life at Devon, and it had encroached through situations such as the boys doing work for the war, talking about enlisting, and watching the troops move into Devon. As they had been going through so many conflicts of their own, they had often seemed oblivious of the growing problem of the war. This oblivion ended, however, when the realization of the war sunk in when the war dominated their lives. This can relate to anyones life,

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