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A Separate Peace
A Separate Peace
A Separate Peace is a novel by John Knowles that is about prep school experiences during World War II. This book was a good story about an adolescents attempt to understand the world and himself. I enjoyed reading about Gene\'s journey towards maturity and the adult world.
This book takes place in Devon School, New Hampshire during a summer session when Gene Forrester was sixteen years old. One day Gene and Finny, his friend and roommate, went to a large tree by the river. Finny suggested that they try and jump from the tree into the river below them. This jump was usually for older boys. But they both made the jump successfully, and Finny formed the Summer Suicide Society, which is dedicated to members being initiated by jumping from the tree to the river. Each time, Gene and Finny must go first, but Gene always has a fear of jumping.
Finny always was considered the best athlete in school, and Gene tried to counterbalance by being the best student. After a while of joining Finny\'s activities, Gene thinks that Finny is intentionally trying to make him fail out of school. He starts to dislike Finny and his activities, and Gene starts interrupting his schoolwork to jump from the tree more and more often. On one occasion, he thoughtlessly jounces the limb and Finny falls and breaks his leg.
Finny\'s leg is so shattered that he will not be able to play sports again. Gene is scared that Finny will tell that he intentionally pushed him off the tree. After his first visit to the infirmary, Gene realizes that Finny trusts Gene completely and would never accuse Gene. After summer vacation was over, Gene guilty conscience decides to confess to Finny that he had deliberately pushed him out of the tree. Finny refuses to believe his confession, and demands that Gene leave.
Autumn session had started and Gene did not try to go out for any sports. Students volunteered to do jobs left from the workers that were sent off to war. Many students enlisted into the army, and Gene was going to do the same until one day he returns to his room and Finny was there.
Finny confronts Gene and tells him that he is going to coach him for the 1944 Olympics. Gene explains that sports are not important while the war is going on. Finny will not believe in the war, and feels that he has suffered so much already. Gene is drawn into this belief of peace with Finny, and is not in touch with the reality that is going on.
Gene\'s good friend Leper was the first to enlist in the war, which made the war seem more and more unreal since Leper had never been concerned about anything. Leper left after the recruiter came to Devon and showed pictures of the ski troops in action.
Later, Gene gets a telegraph from Leper asking for help, and asks Gene to come at once. Gene arrives at Leper\'s house, Gene tries to humor Leper with jokes, but notices that Leper is too nervous and disturbed. Gene asks him how long he will be home, and Leper says that he has escaped the war. Then Leper gets mad and accuses Gene of thinking of him as not normal. Leper and Gene fight over new army words and Leper says that Gene will soon be trapped. Leper reminds Gene of the time he knocked Finny out of the tree. Gene becomes outraged and calls Lepur a "crazy bastard." Then Leper switches moods and begins laughing at the fact that Finny is crippled for life. Gene knocks Leper over in his chair and onto the floor, and his mom comes in and tells Gene that Leper is ill. Gene tries to leave, but Leper makes him stay for lunch. Gene feels ashamed to accept the invitation for lunch.
Back to Finny\'s fall, some boys from the dormitory come to get Gene and Finny to take them to the assembly hall. They begin asking questions about Finny\'s broken leg, Finny refuses to answer the questions and bursts out of the room and falls down the stairs and breaks the same leg again.
Gene tries to visit Finny in
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Phillips Exeter Academy, A Separate Peace, British films, The Devon School
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