March 28, 2012
“A Separate Peace” Research Paper
The author of “ A Separate Peace,” John Knowles once said, “Looking back now across fifteen years I could see with great clarity the fear I had lived in, which must mean that in the interval I had succeeded in a very important undertaking: I must have made my escape from it” (Knowles 10). The “fear” mentioned previously, is a result of the times Knowles lived in, a time of a war, which had even affected his comfortable life at a private school. “A Separate Peace,” by John Knowles, was influenced by his life experience at his time spent at Exeter Academy, and the ongoing war, World War II.
The period of time John Knowles spent at Exeter Academy influenced the execution of his novel, “A Separate Peace.” Several real life events, objects and people made their way into a complicated web of friendship at the Devon Academy. For example, the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session, first mentioned on page 51, in chapter four of the novel, was a real society. In an article done by Bernard Carragher, Knowles admits that there was a Super Suicide Society, and that he was part of it, “Knowles also admits there was a Super Suicide Society, but there were no broken legs or deaths. “In fact, I was the one that got a serious cut on my foot and it was I who was hobbling around all summer on crutches. . .” says Knowles.” In the novel, the young men create a Super Suicide Society, and it is run by Finney. In order to get in, you must go through initiation, which was jumping of the tree branch by the river, the boys even continue to jump out of it every night, justifying it by saying that they were “Preparing for the war,” (Knowles 22). The main characters are actually based off of real people as well; John Heyl (Phineas) and Parker Stevenson (Gene Forrester). “The story is of two roommates- the quiet, intellectual Gene (Parker Stevenson) and the outgoing, brilliantly athletic...