A Separate Peace Questions and Answers
by John Knowles

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In A Separate Peace, why did author John Knowles feel it was necessary for Finny to die?

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Throughout John Knowles's novel, A Separate Peace, there are parallels drawn between the internal wars within the main characters and the conflicts that develop among countries.  In early chapters, Finny  concerns about the European conflict by stating that the war is really a conspiracy among the world's leaders.  So, in the same way that Germany and the Allies convinced its youth that they were fighting for a greater cause, Finny creates

reverses and deceptions and acts of sheer mass hypnotism which were so extraordinary that they surprised even him.

As with the climate of the World War, also, as Gene narrates,

Everyone has a moment in history...when his emotions achieve their most powerful sway over him.

Thus, at Devon School, Gene and Finny and others wage their private wars. Seduced by a propaganda film, Leper enlists; driven by Leper's nonsensical comments, Brinker Hadley, the head student, is driven to enlist in order to make sense of the war for himself, and Finny creates the...

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