A Separate Peace – Thematic Analysis

An evaluation of John Knowles A Separate Peace brings up the theme of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man. What tends to make this novel distinctive is that in protesting war, Knowles never overtly referred to the blood and gore of war he showed the consequences of war, some paralleling the nature of war and some merely laying out how World War II affected noncombatants thousand miles away. There have been several books written about war, what takes place, why it happens, and why wars ought to cease. Knowles explains by way of the life of Finny why war by no means will cease, with only a single death in the entire book a quiet 1 at that.

When Gene is accountable for Finny’s fall off the tree, the reader is in some confusion as to what genuinely occurred. All the book reads at this juncture is “Holding firmly to the trunk, I took a step near him, and then my knees bounced and I jounced the limb. Finny, his balance gone, swung his head to look at me for an instant with intense interest, and then he tumbled sideways, broke by way of the tiny branches below and hit the bank with a sickening, unnatural thud.” The reader does not know irrespective of whether it was accidental or intentional. It is not till later that Finny realizes that Gene is responsible for his crippling, and what a all-natural thing it was to do. Gene bounced the branch just to see if he could make the invincible Finny fall at least, this is why Gene claims he did it. This is true, but at some level, Gene was scared of Finny, of his self-confidence, his skills, and his prospective for breaking records. Consider Gene’s paranoia more than Finny’s attempts to make him adventurous. Gene interprets these genuine acts of friendship as attempts to prevent him from reaching the major of the academic ladder.

This paranoia parallels war in that following it is declared, no a single is secure. Countries, leaders, people suspicious of all who are perceived as a threat, causing them to lash out at anyone even peripherally involved. Adequately proven in A Separate Peace, there are also historical examples: the Nazi death camps, the American Japanese-American relocation camps, and the McCarthyism of the fifties. Apparently, in America, the Constitution rules till war is declared, then paranoia and vindictiveness take charge. When Gene had the chance to get back at Finny, he did, which is…

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