Summary Of A Separate Peace By John Knowles

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Set during World War II, A Separate Peace written by John Knowles describes the difficult times experienced by the upcoming generation of the United States’ army. Knowles tells the story of an older man named Gene Forrester returning to his old boarding school that he attended before going into war. During the duration of his visit, Gene narrates the anguish his younger self went through as he realizes the realities of war and discovers who he really is. By the end of Gene’s story, it can be concluded that he has reached a separate peace by noticing that everyone fights a different war, and his fight is already over. When Gene first reaches his old school, he hunts for the tree that started a war within himself. He proclaims that, “This was the tree, and it seemed to me …show more content…

Gene has now become at peace with the tree that had created his greatest internal struggle. Gene later discovers the realities of war first hand. While visiting a friend named Leper, who had enlisted in the army, Gene soon comes to find that Leper had become insane because of his choice to enlist. Gene states, “Fear seized my stomach like a cramp. I didn’t care what I said to him now; it was myself I was worried about. For if Leper was psycho it was the army which had done it to him, and I and all of us were on the brink of the army” (144). Gene was forced to come to terms with the harsh truths of war, and because of this Gene was able to create an aura of maturity. This sense of maturity allows Gene to react in a level headed manner during difficult situations, enabling him to be at peace with himself during these times. At the end of his visit, Gene acknowledges to his boarding school that “[he] never killed anybody and [he] never developed an intense level of hatred for the enemy. Because [his] war ended before [he] ever put on a uniform; [he] was on active duty all [his] time at school; [he] killed the enemy there.”

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