Theme Of Reality In A Separate Peace

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In John Knowles’s A Separate Peace, the students of Devon’s perception of reality changes from peacetime to wartime. Phineas’s perception changes as he refuses to accept any part of reality that he does not agree with, but events force him to accept it anyway. Gene views Phineas as a jealous competitor, but he comes to a realization about Phineas’s real nature. Leper and Brinker both view the war as a sort of opportunity. However, they both resent the war when they face it. During peacetime, Phineas creates his own reality, but later his classmates force him to accept the truth. Originally, Phineas only refuses to believe in silly things like Caesar, Latin, or the war. He views Caesar as “more of a tyrant at Devon than he had ever been in Rome” ( Knowles 162). However, his greatest denial comes when he purposely tries to forget about Gene jouncing the limb and tells Gene “I don’t know, I must have just lost my balance” (Knowles 66). As wartime creeps closer, suddenly his fake reality must disappear. Phineas comes to admit to Gene that the war exists and confides to him that “I’ll hate it everywhere if I’m not in this war!” but if some organization would allow him to enlist despite being disabled, “Then there would have been a war” (Knowles 190). Later, Brinker and several other classmates hold a mock trial for the incident at the tree. During this trial, Phineas begins to grow more and more angry as his classmates force him to admit to himself that Gene meant to jostle the
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