A Seperate Peace Literary Criticism

Topics: A Separate Peace, William Golding, English-language films Pages: 3 (1037 words) Published: January 2, 2011
Have you gone through an experience where you lose your innocence. In the novels Lord of the Flies by William Golding, and A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the main characters of both novels suffer a fall from innocence. Ralph from Lord of the Flies suffers his fall from innocence when he takes part in the brutal, gruesome death of Simon. However, Gene, in A Separate Peace, suffers the greatest fall from innocence. Gene subconsciously cripples his best friend Phineas, which in the end, leads to the death of his friend. Although both characters are at fault for the death of a friend, Gene’s case is far worse because his actions are the result of jealousy, frustration, and anger. First, in Lord of the Flies, Jack and his tribe had a feast, when suddenly a shadowy figure approaches them (Simon), and all of the children chase after the figure, including Ralph, and kill it, believing that it is the beast. Ralph later realizes what had happened the night before, as he says to Piggy “That was murder” (Golding 156). When Simon approached the feast, the children are caught up in the moment, which makes this bad timing on Simon’s part. Ralph is amongst the group, and like the others, is caught up in the moment. Furthermore, Ralph takes part in the murder of the innocent Simon, however his judgment was clouded under the circumstances, unlike Gene in A Separate Peace, Ralph kills out of fear, rather than out of jealousy. Piggy explains to Ralph the morning after Simon’s death that “It was an accident…that’s what it was. An accident…Coming out of the dark- he hadn’t no business crawling like that out of the dark. He was batty. He asked for it…it was an accident” (Golding 157) Because of the chaos and confusion on the night of Simon’s death, and the fear of the beast rising, it is quite feasible for the children to believe Simon was the beast. However, when Gene jounces the branch on which Phineas is perched, this had been done in jealousy, and in anger. Because of the build...
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