This passage in chapter 2 discusses the two interchangeable motifs of the whole novel. First there is denial: Phineas and Gene admit to each other that they don't believe that there had been bombing by the U.S. in central Europe. Second, the description of the school's buildings and setting outline the bubble that the boys live in that protect them from the war. The boys were wrapped so tightly in their bubble at Devon that even the forest surrounding the school seemed too far to travel; so, why would the war being fought in central Europe be any different? And it's not that they were necessarily narrow-minded, either. They were young and free. They lived lives of no responsibility to anyone other than themselves, each other, and their homework. Hence, denial and isolation are the two main themes in this passage that later become part of the whole "separate peace" motif.