A Separate Peace by John Knowles

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In A Separate Peace, why does Gene say that peace has returned to Devon?

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The novel begins at Devon during the Summer Session of 1942 when Gene and Finny, along with the other members of their class, live lives that have not, as yet, been caught up in World War II. During that summer, the boys discuss the war, but it seems very far away from them:

The class above, seniors, draft-bait, practically soldiers, rushed ahead of us toward the war. They were caught up in accelerated courses and first-aid programs and a physical hardening regimen . . . We were still calmly, numbly reading Virgil and playing tag in the river . . . .

This summer represents the last moments of peace in the boys' lives for...

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