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A Separate Peace

by John Knowles

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What are the major events in the novel A Separate Peace?

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I'm assuming you've read the novel, so my references to events will be just that--short, quick references.

  • The frame (beginning and end) - Gene comes back to Devon school and re-examines the events of those years
  • Summer school and the Suicide Society
  • Finny and Gene do all sorts of things (beach, blitzball, etc.) but not much schoolwork
  • Gene comes to the erroneous conclusion that Finny wants Gene to fail
  • Gene jounces the limb and Finny falls
  • Before school begins again in the fall, Gene tries to confess but Finny refuses to hear him
  • Gene wastes his athletic abilities on being a manager; he and Brinker decide to enlist
  • Finny stays home until Thanksgiving, then returns.  Gene's plans to enlist evaporate
  • Training for the Olympics, Winter Carnival, and note from Leper
  • Gene visits Leper and is faced with his guilt by a rather crazy Leper who has gone AWOL
  • Finny now denying the war even exists
  • Brinker conductsa mock trial which reveals Gene's guilt and Finny's doubts; Leper testifies
  • Finny falls and is taken to the infirmary
  • Gene tries to apologize to Finny but is rebuffed
  • Gene returns to the infirmary and is able to have a lucid and reconciliation moment with Finny
  • Gene finds out Finny has died
  • Brinker's dad comes and presents an idealized view of war and serving in the military; Brinker is angry and disillusioned
  • Back to the framed story and a pensive Gene--who enlisted but never really had to fight



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