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The Symbol of NatureWhat does nature symbolize in a separate peace?

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shayln1995 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 28, 2012 at 11:53 AM via web

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The Symbol of Nature

What does nature symbolize in a separate peace?

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 29, 2012 at 1:07 AM (Answer #2)

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The central symbol of nature in the novel is the tree, which provides a place for the boys to come together and enjoy fellowship. This is one of the reasons that the injury that occurs during one of these outings is so disturbing. The symbol of fellowship suddenly becomes associated with a violation of that fellowship.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 10, 2012 at 7:24 AM (Answer #3)

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Nature is a peaceful place. It is a place where the boys can go to relax and talk. It's a sanctuary. I agree with the above that the sanctuary is violated, and that is when the truth is revealed. Nature is not just about peace, it's peace hiding savagery.
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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 25, 2012 at 2:11 AM (Answer #4)

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Gene repeats his vision of the forest that borders Devon, saying that he believed that the forest went on for thousands of miles, unbroken, until it finally ended in an untouched, pristine stand of pine trees in northern Canada. This vision of nature seems to symbolize an idea of youth and innocence and it is one that Gene comes to realize was false, just a youthful fancy, but he repeats the idea anyway and seems to treasure it despite its romantic sentimentality. 

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 29, 2012 at 10:15 AM (Answer #5)

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The two rivers, the Devon with its clear, clean water and the Naguamsett with its ugly, marshy waters are symbolic of the relationship of Gene and Phineas at different points in the narrative.  Having committed his act of envy, Gene finds himself at the borders of the Naguamsett shortly thereafter.

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