A Separate Peace by John Knowles

A Separate Peace book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How does Finny and Gene's story relate to the war in A Separate Peace, by John Knowles?

Expert Answers info

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write4,539 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

The backdrop for A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, is World War II, but it is also a hovering presence in the lives of every character. The teachers at Devon school this year are only old men because the younger men are off to war; all older boys are training for war as well as studying their lessons; the younger boys are trying to act normal in a world which is anything but normal. The relationship between Finny and Gene is a kind of microcosm of the war that is raging in the world outside of Devon school. Even more, once Finny is hurt, a new war rages inside Gene.

There is no exact parallel between the boys and specific countries or people (as is true in works like George Orwell's Animal Farm ); however, their relationship is similar to a war. Finny is the boy who goes through life relatively unscathed by everything that happens around him; he is naturally athletic and charismatic, and he loves his life and his friends. His motivations are fairly transparent: he wants to have fun and he...

(The entire section contains 627 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now



Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial