How is dialogue significant in John Knowles' A Separate Peace?

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Dialogue is important in Knowles' A Separate Peace because it helps to create both understanding and misunderstanding between the boys. The teenagers in the story create a lot of drama amongst themselves due to the words they choose to say to each other. These words are usually unfiltered and immature in teenage nature; thus, miscommunication can occur. On the other hand, when masks are dropped and the boys are speaking honestly with each other, they find a sense of genuine understanding to offset the impulsive dialogue that may have preceded. One very important dialogue that happens between Phineas and Gene (page 52) creates misunderstanding because of jealousy between the boys. Gene becomes paranoid that Phineas is out to sabotage his academic career. However, it is Phineas who had previously said to Gene that he was his "best pal" (48) in a moment of honesty while at the beach. Sadly, Gene decides to believe in that Phineas is more jealous than he is a loyal and good friend.


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