Why does Knowles set Finny's achievements (his breaking the school record) against the backdrop of the war?
Are there any hidden themes or similarities/connections to Finny breaking the school record and the war?
Finny's accomplishment in breaking A. Hopkins Parker's record in the 100 yards free style event without any practice or preparation is included in A Separate Peace as another illustration of the separation that existed between the idyllic lives of the students at Devon School and the horrors being faced by those fighting in the war. Gene came to understand that the accomplishment, while impressive in and of itself to himself and other current Devon students (it would have been impressive if Finny had allowed Gene to tell them about it), was irrelevant to those outside the school, in the so-called real world.
we spent this summer at Devon when Finny achieved certain feats as an athlete. In such a period no one notices or rewards any achievements involving the body unless the result is to kill it or save it on the battlefield, so that there were only a few of us to applaud and wonder at what he was able to do.