Summary Of A Separate Peace By John Knowles

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A Separate Peace by John Knowles is a coming of age story set in 1942 during World War II. Through the mature perspective of Gene fifteen years later, the novel reflects on the last year of Devon life as Gene’s relationship with Finny drastically changes. Significantly, the most essential element of the story occurs when Gene jounces the tree limb and Finny falls. Ultimately, this event leads to a major change in Gene at the end of the story, and Gene, himself, certainly demonstrates the hardships associated with change while revealing aspects of the reader’s mind and heart as well. Quickly, unaware of his actions, Gene bent his knees and bounced on the limb, and in a split second, Finny fell to ground, sickeningly (Knowles 60). This incident …show more content…

At the beginning of the novel, Gene is emotionally immature, and holds a resentment against Finny. On the beach, Finny confides that Gene is his best friend, but Gene does not echo his truthfulness: “Something held me back. Perhaps I was stopped by that level of feeling, deeper than thought, which contains the truth” (Knowles 48). Moreover, Gene struggles with a competitiveness, a hatefulness: “I knew too much of hate to be contained in a world like this” (Knowles 55). Nevertheless, these young emotions which seem to engulf him are overcome at the end of the book when Phineas becomes a part of himself; a piece which removed all his anger: “My fury was gone…Phineas had absorbed it and taken it with him, and I was rid of it forever” (Knowles 203). In addition, his apology to Finny frees him from all the overwhelming guilt and confusion shrouding his mind; it enlightens him. Knowles suggests, “I[Gene] felt that I was not, never had been and never would be a living part of this overwhelmingly solid and deeply meaningful world around me” (186). Gene at thirty-three is not the sixteen-year-old boy who thought that his best friend was his greatest

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