Thursday, November 14, 2019
A separate piece :: essays research papers
A. Title and Author - A Separate Peace by John Knowles B. Story Setting - The story starts off at the Devon school, which is a prep school in New England at 1958. But the rest of the story takes place through a flashback of his days when he was a student at Devon during 1943. C. Main Characters - Gene Forrester - Gene is the narrator of the novel and appears at two different time periods: as a middle-aged man re-visiting Devon fifteen years after being a student there, and, for the majority of the novel, as a sixteen and seventeen-year-old student during World War II. The novel is written in the past tense, and we assume that Gene's narration is triggered by his re-visitation of his old school when he is thirty-two. And although the older narrator seems long past the emotional turmoil that marked his schoolboy days, the events of his years at Devon are told as if they were occurring in the present, as if our narrator were still sixteen years old. The Gene that we encounter for the bulk of the novel is, like many of his classmates, at a liminal stage in his life-the adolescence between boyhood and manhood. This transition is further emphasized by the war, Gene being in the final years of freedom before the ravages of a world war can legally claim him. Outwardly Gene is one of the top students in his class and a talented athlete. These traits earn him respect on campus and, most importantly, the friendship of Phineas, whom Gene respects more than any of his fellow classmates. But inwardly, Gene is plagued by the darker forces of human nature, forces that prey upon the turbulence of adolescence. Gene's admiration and love for Finny is balanced and marred by his fierce jealousy of him, by a deep insecurity in himself, and, because of his insecurity, a need to compete with and "defeat" his friend at all costs. Gene's internal emotional battles are the major source of conflict and tension in the novel. Phineas - Called Finny by his classmates, Phineas is Gene's closest companion at Devon and, for our narrator, the central focus of the novel. Finny is five feet eight and a half inches tall and weighs one hundred fifty pounds. Indeed, Finny is the superhuman wonder of athletics and physical harmony at Devon, far surpassing any competition from his classmates, Gene included. What is more, Finny's physical prowess matches that of his personality-he is a charismatic, good-natured, and persuasive young man.