Summary Of John Knowles A Separate Peace

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A Separate Peace by John Knowles is a story about teenage boys attending a private school during World War II. Many boys were being forced into war when they turned eighteen and had to leave their old lives behind. Older boys at The Devon School were taught about following orders and staying fit. Younger boys did not receive this training, yet were still expected to join the war when they were old enough. The younger boys managed to create a separate peace for themselves by having a Winter Carnival. Although the festivities of the Winter Carnival suggest that the boys have been successful in creating a separate peace, Knowles’ use of war related imagery in describing the setting, prizes, and behavior of the boys at the carnival suggests that the peace is illusory. The author’s use of war related imagery in describing the setting suggests that the peace is illusory. The season of winter is described as dangerous, like the war. Winter has “conquered, overrun and destroyed everything.”(p. 128) Winter represents the war that has taken over the thoughts of everyone and has taken the lives of some. The sky reflects the war, even on…show more content…
The prizes are meant to be fun for the boys, but anticipate difficult times. One prize is “a set of York barbells.”(p. 132) This signifies that the boys will soon have to become strong and fit in order to fight in the war. The prizes also represent teamwork between the boys. The “Iliad with the English translation”(p. 132) written in is one available prize. The boys want to help each other and work as a team to succeed. Teamwork and sacrifice are important parts of the war. Another prize directly indicates the war. This is “a forged draft registration card.”(p. 132) The peace and tranquility available now will soon come to an end when the boys enlist. The prizes allude to the war and indicate that the peace of the Winter Carnival is
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