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Introduction to A Separate Peace

Introduction to A Separate Peace

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Introduction to A Separate Peace

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  1. Introduction to A Separate Peace Mr. Pettine English 10 August 15, 2017

  2. John Knowles • Born in 1926, died in 2001 • Born in West Virginia, attended Phillips Exeter Preparatory School in Massachusetts • Served in Air Force before attending and graduating from Yale University • Served as journalist before publishing first novel, A Separate Peace, in 1960 • Instant renown, but subsequent novels failed to gain popular or critical fame

  3. Phillips Exeter Academy Imagine what kind of student attends a school like this? Social status? Educational ability?

  4. Gene Forrester Gene Forrester – protagonist and narrator. We meet him as man in 30s telling story of his teenage years Like Knowles, a Southerner attending New England prep school Bookish, insecure, resentful, inability to truly love or accept friendship

  5. Phineas “Finny” Last name not provided Gene’s roommate, “best friend,” and foil (opposite) Not particularly academic – but popular, charming, charismatic, athletic, open to others, loving

  6. Secondary Characters Elwin “Leper” Lepelier – mentally weak and interested in Science. Initially quiet and nature-loving, Leper is transformed and mentally damaged by enlisting in WWII training “Brinker” Hadley – Highly suspicious and devoted to rules. Rival to Finny and Gene, his social demeanor serves as a foil (“opposite”) to Finny

  7. Thematic Concerns Dependency in Friendship – Gene worries that he is “becoming” Finny. At what point does friendship hinder individuality? Boyhood vs. Adulthood – The athletic games and boyish friendships at the school are contrasted with the coming of adulthood and World War II

  8. Motifs Play and Sports (Youth) vs. War (Adulthood) Summer (Joy) vs. Winter (Sadness) Health vs. Disability Innocence vs. Knowledge

  9. World War II World War II (1939-1945) Axis Powers (Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, militarized Japan, Vichy France) Allied Powers (Great Britain, United States, Australia, Free France, Soviet Union)

  10. World War II • United States enters WWII after Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941) • Germany declares war on United States next day • United States focuses on war in Europe before turning to Japan following fall of Germany

  11. World War II 16.1 million Americans fight in World War II 407,000 Americans die in combat 21-25 million die in combat worldwide Civilian bombing, genocide, famine, war related deaths approach 80 million