What does the phrase “a separate peace” mean to you and to the novel?
Finny organizes his own version of the Olympic games as part of his Devon Winter Carnival. After finishing a decathlon, Gene says, “It wasn’t the cider which made me surpass myself, it was this liberation we had torn from the gray encroachments of 1943, the escape we had concocted, this afternoon of momentary, illusory, special and separate peace.” In your group discuss what Gene means in this passage. What is the “separate peace” that Gene is describing, and how do the students achieve it on this day? At this point, what does the phrase “a separate peace” mean to you and to the novel? Share your opinions with others in your class. Use details from the novel to support your conclusions including at least one quote.
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A Separate Peace is the freedom or the liberation as to which your question referred of being a teenager. These are your years of not being bound by the war of life. While in the 40s, being 18 or older literally meant you were entering war one way or the other, the only and perfect opposite of that was the peace of being 17 or less, careless of the world's issues.
"Peace lay on Devon like a blessing, the summer's peace, the reprieve, New Hampshire's response to all the cogitation and deadness of winter. There could be no urgency in work during such summers....Or perhaps that was only true for me and a few others, our gypsy band of the summer before."
This might be a good quote to use as summer represents everything childish. It's the time to play and kids only practice at being adults really occurs during the school year. I think you could use the summer as a sample Separate Peace and link it to the idea of just being a kid as discussed above.
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