Preview

War And Rivalry In A Separate Peace

Good Essays
Open Document
Open Document
463 Words
Grammar
Grammar
Plagiarism
Plagiarism
Writing
Writing
Score
Score
War And Rivalry In A Separate Peace
In the nonfiction novel "A Separate Peace" by John Knowles, there are many themes. One theme that appears in every chapter is "war and rivalry". The novel "A Separate Peace" presents many examples of the theme "war and rivalry" like World War 2, enlisting for the war, and Gene and Finny's egos.
One way war is represented in this novel is the setting, WWll. In chapter 1, the setting is stated in the first paragraph. "Perhaps the school wasn't as well kept up in those days; perhaps varnish, along with everything else, had gone to war.”(Knowles, page 1). Right off the bat, war is seen in the first paragraph in a nonviolent way, and to set the atmosphere. During the whole book they are in war; it is mentioned in every chapter. Another way "war
…show more content…
“He did it. No one else in the school could have done it so without it getting torn from their back.”(Knowles, page 9). Finny’s ego is very apparent, showing that he knows that he can pull off his pink shirt with his charming personality. Although in chapter 3 Finny tells Gene he is his best friend and Gene’s response is silence. “It was a courageous thing to say… But something held me back.”(Knowles, page 21). The miniature monologue Gene says conveys his ego and how it and his reputation were more important than his closest friend. The rivalry between the two is more of a one way street though. In Gene’s eyes Finny is much better than he and although Finny’s ego is large, he is still humble. Gene believes in a way Finny, his best friend, is his rival.
The novel “A Separate Peace” presents many examples of the theme “war and rivalry” like World War 2, enlisting for the war, and Gene and Finny’s egos. World War 2 is represented during the whole book, enlisting for the war was the inevitable fate of the boys, and Gene and Finny’s egos conveyed the rivalry. “War and Rivalry” was the most occurring theme in the story, helping shape the novel of what it is

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    In "A Separate Peace", John Knowles often uses the main protagonist, Gene Forrester, to convey crucial information on theme, motives, and leitmotifs. Knowles masterfully uses Gene's seemingly indecisive thoughts on war after Finny's death to convey significant thematic elements of the war. Through Gene's reflections, the reader can perceive Knowles' view of the war to be one not of hate and disgust, but of philosophical ponderings. Despite the atrocities that occur to certain characters in the novel caused by the war, it seems that the novel's overall perception of World War II is that it is not a destructor of purity and innocent, guileless enjoyment, but rather just a significant factor for the maturation and rapid ascent to adulthood of the Class of 1943.…

    • 757 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    A Separate Peace is a novel that criticizes society, based on a romantic point of view of human nature. Firstly, Gene's aggressive nature is being nurtured by societies preoccupation with competition, inner-enemies, and power. Contrasting to Gene, Finny has a natural goodness about him that has not been corrupted by society. Lastly, the Devon school is a symbol of rivalry and competitiveness of the world, which has produced a devastating war on a much larger scale.…

    • 2001 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    The novel A Separate Peace, written by John Knowles, is about two young boys attending prep school together in the early 1940’s during World War II. Gene, the main character and the narrator of the novel, is a highly intellectual, sarcastic 16-year-old who struggles throughout the book to discover his true self. Phineas, on the other hand, is athletic, careless and highly admired by his peers, and seems to get away with anything he pleases. Throughout the story the friendship between the boys strengthens, but at many times is tested by the pair’s risky feats and competitiveness.…

    • 1378 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    A Separate Peace

    • 480 Words
    • 2 Pages

    As well as many other novels, A Separate Peace includes easily relatable characters. While reading the novel, I discovered that there are certain qualities of both Gene and Finny that I can identify with. After careful consideration, I realized that I most identify with Gene rather than Finny. He and I both are drawn to people with larger than life personalities. I can also relate to his insecure feelings that come with having friendships with those types of personalities. His strength in academics is another trait of his that I can identify with.…

    • 480 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    <br>In the early pages of the novel, Finny confesses that Gene is his best friend. This is considered a courageous act as the students at Devon rarely show any emotion. And rather than coming back with similar affection, Gene holds back and says nothing. Gene simply cannot handle the fact that Finny is so compassionate, so athletic, so ingenuitive, so perfect. As he put it, "Phineas could get away with anything." (p. 18) In order to protect himself from accepting Finny's compassion and risking emotional suffering, Gene creates a silent rivalry with Finny, and convinced himself that Finny is deliberately attempting to ruin his schoolwork. Gene decides he and Finny are jealous of each other, and reduces their friendship to cold trickery and hostility. Gene becomes disgusted with himself after weeks of the silent rivalry. He finally discovers the truth, that Finny only wants the best for Gene, and had no hidden evil intentions. This creates a…

    • 1585 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Because Gene is dishonest he imagines that everyone else is as well. Gene imagines that Finny's character is exactly the same as his, which of course it isn't. Gene builds up hate, anger and fear of the character that he has given to Finny. Since…

    • 1006 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Lord of the Flies

    • 992 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Another type of conflict that is present and dominant in this novel is man vs. man. In everyday life, people’s different personalities cause disagreements and arguments. As with any group of…

    • 992 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    In high school, students often face challenges that force them to grow up. From their first break up to peer pressure, they slowly begin losing their innocence. Similarity, in A Separate Peace two boys are exposed to hatred and violence in a military academy. During World War II, Gene and Phineas begin with a normal friendship, but throughout time they both face new conflicts. Through jealousy and paranoia, they change from friends to rivals. When challenges come face to face with Gene he attempts to get rid of them in the worst ways possible, which eventually leads him to a loss of innocence. In the novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles, Gene lives in his own world, but through his friendship with Phineas, he learns he has to face reality.…

    • 1001 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    A Separate Peace Theme

    • 423 Words
    • 2 Pages

    In the story, Gene and Finny share a complex friendship. Gene does not quite know what to think or believe of Finny; so, he has a mixture of emotions toward Finny at different times, ranging from admiration and pleasure, to annoyance and doubt. At points, Gene feels envious of Finny's effortless skill and athletic ability. Also, Gene feels pushed and pressured by Finny to do things that his better instinct tells him not to do. For example, Finny persuades Gene to jump from the tree: "What was I doing up here anyway? Why did I let Finny talk me into stupid things like this"?(9). Gene is confused by his contradictory feelings toward Finny.…

    • 423 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    We have all experienced friendship in our lives; some of these bonds were lasting and others were not. A Separate Peace is a book that deals with the friendship of high school boys. These boys attend an all-boy’s school called Devon School. It is said that: "Devon is sometimes considered the most beautiful school in New England." "Devon was both scholarly and very athletic." Devon is where Gene Forrester, Phineas (Finny) and Elwin (Leper) Lepellier attend school. Author John Knowles sets the story during World War II. This time period makes the boys have to think about which branch of the military they want to enlist in. The main focuses of this book are war, conformity or agreement, and friendship. War is a theme because throughout the book WWII encroaches on Finny and Gene’s separate peace. Conformity is a theme because Finny puts constant pressure on all the boys especially Gene to do rebellious things. They give into peer pressure and do things like jumping from trees even though that broke the rules. They wanted to go along with the crowd, and Finny represents the crowd. Friendship is the most visible theme in the book and since friendship is based on mutual need, Finny and Gene are best friends. Finny has things that Gene needs and Gene has things Finny needs. I am going to explain the meaning of a separate peace to Leper Lepellier, Phineas, and Gene Forrester.…

    • 1042 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    In the novel, A Separate Peace, John Knowles writes about the internal struggles of a young friendship during World War II. Knowles adopts a serious tone in order to develop to the idea that war is inevitable. The author uses devices including characterization and symbolism to develop the theme.…

    • 385 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    A Separate Piece Outline

    • 666 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Thesis Statement: In a Separate Peace, John Knowles uses the envy Gene has for Finny, Leper’s thought on war and Finny’s denial about evil in the world to create a theme of allusion vs. reality.…

    • 666 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    A Separate Peace - War

    • 3211 Words
    • 8 Pages

    Three: Everyone has a moment in history which belongs particularly to him. It is the…

    • 3211 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Throughout history, literature has glorified war as a romantic event, where men won honor through acts of heroism. Many novels have been written to this effect. What is war, really, though? The one fact that people seem to forget is that no matter how just or righteous a cause is, war only produces death and destruction. Most war literature is about generals winning their glorious campaigns. Not often is the story told from the viewpoint of the common soldier who is fighting and dying. Few books show this side of war, the ugly…

    • 2253 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    In the novel, the characters had never faced a war situation they did not know what to do or how to react. As the novel progresses, the characters strategies change, as does their perspective on war. “A month ago we were average teenagers… now we’re soldiers, we won’t run, we won’t hide, we’ll fight and keep fighting, and never give up, until this war is finally won.” This quote by Ellie shows courage, strength and maturity. Throughout the text there many important references that relate to war countries now, where homes are being invaded and teenagers and even adults have to, “start thinking like soldiers”. This quote was said by Ellie and it…

    • 768 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays