Quotes from John Knowles', A Separate Peace
"I think we reminded them of what peace was like, we boys of sixteen....We were careless and wild, and I suppose we could be thought of as a sign of the life the war was being fought to preserve....We reminded them of what peace was like, of lives which were not bound up with destruction. Phineas was the essence of this careless peace." Chapter 2, pp. 16-17 Context: Gene says this after he and Finny were in Mr. Prud’homme’s office explaining why they were late to dinner. Gene says that the faculty was tolerant towards toward them because they reminded what peace was like. Gene’s and Finny’s life reflect the life people had prewar.
Analysis: This quote shows how peoples’ life changed during the war. The behaviors exhibited by Gene and Finny probably contrast the behavior that people fighting in the war exhibited. Gene and Finny symbolize what America is fighting for-freedom. Also, since peace was rare during this time, Finny could be described as an unusual character because he exhibits characteristics that were rare at that time.
"[Finny] could get away with anything. I couldn't help envying him that a little, which was perfectly normal. There was no harm in envying even your best friend a little." Chapter 2, pg. 18 Context: Gene says this right after Finny gets away with skipping dinner and swimming instead. Gene and Finny were just at the Headmaster’s house and Finny’s outfit seemed obnoxious to Gene. Gene cannot believe that Finny got away for wearing his school tie as a belt. Gene seems to be excited at the thought that Finny might be getting in trouble. Analysis: This quote shows that Gene is jealous with Finny’s ability to get away with everything unharmed. The last sentence might have been said to reassure Gene and make him look less guilty. Also, the fact that Gene envies his best friend might suggest that their friendship is not genuine.
"Between the buildings, elms curved so high that you ceased to remember