A Separate Peace Themes

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Katrina Myers
Mrs. Wiedmann
English Per.5
24 September 2012
A Separate Peace Essay (Topic 4)
The novel, A Separate Peace, is about a group of boys that live at a boarding school in New Jersey during World War II. It centralizes around the two main characters, Gene and Finny. Throughout their story, there are several recurring themes that evolve over time. One of these themes is rules/rebellion. Throughout the novel, the boys continue to rebel and break rules at Devon. It shows their immaturity and how they are not yet ready to be on their own and also shows their aspiration to be independent from any authority. Gene says “Phineas didn't really dislike authority in general, but just considered authority the necessary evil against which happiness was achieved by reaction, the backboard which returned all the insults he threw at it.” This is just one example of how Finny is rebellious in a carefree and non-malicious way. In the beginning of the novel, it is easy for them to break the rules because it’s the summer session and the professors are less strict, especially with Phineas. However, once winter comes, Finny is gone so the regular teachers are able to enforce the rules once again. This symbolizes Phineas’ contributions to the boy’s anarchical Another important theme is competition and games. In the novel, the boys are very competitive and play many sports. The most important contributor to this theme is Finny, because when playing games he is unable to comprehend the fact that there are winners and losers and opposing teams in sports. Finny says “"You always win at sports." This "you" was collective. Everyone always won at sports.” He seems to believe that everyone is a winner which adds to his image of pureness. This theme is consistent throughout most of the novel but changes somewhat when Finny breaks his leg. He is no longer able to play sports, which was one of his favorite things to do. Betrayal and loyalty are major themes in the...
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