What does the Winter Carnival symbolize in A Separate Peace by John Knowles?

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A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, is set at Devon school. The first chapters of the novel take place during the summer session, when the war seems far away and the boys all exist in a time of youthful innocence and rules can be broken with impunity (a fact which Finny routinely exploits, of course). Games and sports are common and fun--except when Finny is jounced from the tree.

The winter session is much different. The administration is much less tolerant and insists that the boys adhere to the rules. It is important for the students to practice obedience and follow the rules because the war is a looming presence; the boys are on the precipice of adulthood and they will soon be called on to serve their country. 

In the midst of this rather harsh, unbending term, Phineas comes back to Devon...

(The entire section contains 419 words.)

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