Separate Peace

A Separate Peace is a novel by John Knowles that is about prep school
experiences during World War II. This book was a good story about an adolescents
attempt to understand the world and himself. I enjoyed reading about Gene\'s
journey towards maturity and the adult world. This book takes place in Devon

School, New Hampshire during a summer session when Gene Forrester was sixteen
years old. One day Gene and Finny, his friend and roommate, went to a large tree
by the river. Finny suggested that they try and jump from the tree into the
river below them. This jump was usually for older boys. But they both made the
jump successfully, and Finny formed the Summer Suicide Society, which is
dedicated to members being initiated by jumping from the tree to the river. Each
time, Gene and Finny must go first, but Gene always has a fear of jumping. Finny
always was considered the best athlete in school, and Gene tried to
counterbalance by being the best student. After a while of joining Finny\'s
activities, Gene thinks that Finny is intentionally trying to make him fail out
of school. He starts to dislike Finny and his activities, and Gene starts
interrupting his schoolwork to jump from the tree more and more often. On one
occasion, he thoughtlessly jounces the limb and Finny falls and breaks his leg.

Finny\'s leg is so shattered that he will not be able to play sports again. Gene
is scared that Finny will tell that he intentionally pushed him off the tree.

After his first visit to the infirmary, Gene realizes that Finny trusts Gene
completely and would never accuse Gene. After summer vacation was over, Gene
guilty conscience decides to confess to Finny that he had deliberately pushed
him out of the tree. Finny refuses to believe his confession, and demands that

Gene leave. Autumn session had started and Gene did not try to go out for any
sports. Students volunteered to do jobs left from the workers that were sent off
to war. Many students enlisted into the army, and Gene was going to do the same
until one day he returns to his room and Finny was there. Finny confronts Gene
and tells him that he is going to coach him for the 1944 Olympics. Gene explains
that sports are not important while the war is going on. Finny will not believe
in the war, and feels that he has suffered so much already. Gene is drawn into
this belief of peace with Finny, and is not in touch with the reality that is
going on. Gene\'s good friend Leper was the first to enlist in the war, which
made the war seem more and more unreal since Leper had never been concerned
about anything. Leper left after the recruiter came to Devon and showed pictures
of the ski troops in action. Later, Gene gets a telegraph from Leper asking for
help, and asks Gene to come at once. Gene arrives at Leper\'s house, Gene tries
to humor Leper with jokes, but notices that Leper is too nervous and disturbed.

Gene asks him how long he will be home, and Leper says that he has escaped the
war. Then Leper gets mad and accuses Gene of thinking of him as not normal.

Leper and Gene fight over new army words and Leper says that Gene will soon be
trapped. Leper reminds Gene of the time he knocked Finny out of the tree. Gene
becomes outraged and calls Lepur a "crazy bastard." Then Leper
switches moods and begins laughing at the fact that Finny is crippled for life.

Gene knocks Leper over in his chair and onto the floor, and his mom comes in and
tells Gene that Leper is ill. Gene tries to leave, but Leper makes him stay for
lunch. Gene feels ashamed to accept the invitation for lunch. Back to Finny\'s
fall, some boys from the dormitory come to get Gene and Finny to take them to
the assembly hall. They begin asking questions about Finny\'s broken leg, Finny
refuses to answer the questions and bursts out of the room and falls down the
stairs and breaks the same leg again. Gene tries to visit Finny in the infirmary
but Finny wants nothing to do with him. The following day, Finny wants to know
why he pushed him out of the tree. Gene says that it was a blind impulse. That
same day, while the doctor is resetting Finny\'s leg, some marrow gets