What are the effects of the war on Phineas in A Separate Peace?

Expert Answers
gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Finny is the epitome of innocence and fun throughout the novel. Initially, the boys at Devon do not have to experience the horrors of war and are relatively oblivious to the ongoing struggle overseas. Finny and Gene engage in many activities and are not directly involved in the war effort throughout the summer session. However, when school resumes, the realization of war directly impacts the faculty and student body. While many of the boys contemplate when and where they will be deployed after they declare for the draft, Finny begins to refute the existence of the war. Essentially, Finny believes that WWII is a conspiracy theory and does not accept the fact that there is extensive fighting overseas. Towards the end of the novel, Finny admits to Gene that he knew all along there is a war going on. He began lying to himself as a way to protect his feelings after the draft board denied his enlistment. Finny wishes that he could participate in war but was denied entrance into the various branches of the military because of his health. The war makes Finny feel isolated. He cannot dream and converse with the rest of his classmates about entering the war because of his condition, which makes him feel like an outcast. However, Gene tells Finny that he would have been a disaster if he were to go overseas because he would have made friends with the enemy.

Read the study guide:
A Separate Peace

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question