English 10 Honors
18 June 2012
John Knowles’ Journey in Life.
An author’s past experiences and memories has an extensive effect on his/her style in writing and the plot in their writings. The late John Knowles is no exception to this. Born into a well –off family in Fairmont, West Virginia, Knowles had no issues in attending prestigious schools. He left home at young age to attend Philipps Exter Academy, which was a well – known boarding school in West Virginia. Knowles’ affections for the Exeter could be seen in his famous novel, A Separate Peace. Shortly after graduating in 1945, he went into the military where he trained to become a pilot in the United States Air Force aviation. After the war ended, he decided to go back to school and he enrolled at the Yale University where he started to get an interest in writing. He started off writing short stories in magazines, fictional stories and articles on their school newspaper eventually started writing novels about his past experiences after being encouraged by the playwright, Thornton Wilder. The success of A Separate Peace enabled Knowles to devote his time into traveling and writing fiction. The experiences that John Knowles had in his life full of travel, diverse cultures and fictional writings greatly influenced his messages of reality vs. memory, and transformation of reality through the usage of symbolism, motifs and metaphors.
Knowles spent his early years switching schools often which made him focus more on his studies than his social life. In fact, Knowles learned how to become independent at a young age because “He left home at age 15 to attend Philipps Exeter Academy, a prestigious boarding school in New Hampshire” (John Knowles). As a result, Knowles learned how to quickly adapt Maniquiz 2
to his new environment and transformed to an independent student. This also shows that Knowles’ family cared for his education and wants him to be successful in life because they sent him to a well – known and prestigious school. In addition, Classzone stated that Knowles attended three schools from High School to College; St. Peter’s High School, Philipps Exter Academy and Yale University (John Knowles). Because of the often changing of environment, Knowles felt out of place. Therefore, he focused on his studies more which made him have a unique bond with the school. In brief, Knowles’ often changing environment made him feel out of place and it also made him focus more on his studies.
Accordingly, these experiences influenced his style of writing. For example, the changes in his life such as living independently, influenced the way he made Gene think, “So the more things remain the same, the more they change after all… Changed, I headed back through the mud. I was drenched; anybody could see it was time to come in out of the rain” (Knowles 14). This shows that Knowles’ experience influenced his writings about Gene. Knowles tried to not change and remain himself but because of the transformation of his environment, he needed to adapt and change the way he viewed the world and himself. Furthermore, the mud and the rain were symbols of his past self which were washed away. In short, Knowles’ transformation of identity influenced the way he wrote about Gene.
Starting off as a freelance writer, Knowles eventually started to become more successful in writing fiction novels where he used his past experiences as a blueprint. As Student Research Center stated, Knowles worked as a freelance writer and journalist from the early parts of his career and he traveled in many places in the world during this period and began to publish stories (Knowles, John).This shows that Knowles’ travels gave him an inspiration to start writing and publishing stories. Due to his journeys, Knowles was exposed to diverse cultures which eventually influenced the way he wrote. In addition, after...
Cited: “Biography of John Knowles (1926 – 2001)”. Grade Saver. Grade Saver LLC 1999-2012.
June 8, 2012.
Hanan, Williams. “John Knowles, 75, Novelist Wrote ‘A Separate Peace”. The New York Times
June 8, 2012
“John Knowles”. Classzone. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company 1995- 2008.
June 8, 2012.
Knowles, John. A Separate Peace. Macmillan: New England, 1957- 1958. Print.
June 17, 2012
“Meet John Knowles”
Please join StudyMode to read the full document