A Separate Peace by John Knowles. Chapter 1 . gymnasium, full of students at this hour but silent as a monument on the outside, past the Field. House, called. A Separate Peace by John Knowles-Full Text. A Separate Peace by John Knowles - An American classic and great bestseller for over thirty years, A Separate Peace is timeless in its description of.
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A bestseller for more than thirty years, A Separate Peace is John Knowles's crowning achievement and an undisputed American classic. Read full review for high school, I was slightly upset because I usually don't read books about wars. Gene Forrester is a careful, studious young man, full of fear of the future. As America is Based on the book by John Knowles. Product Although the era and anxiety belong to , the search for a "special and separate peace" is timeless. A Separate Peace is a novel by John Knowles that was first published Summary. Plot Overview Read a Plot Overview of the entire book or a chapter by chapter Summary and Analysis. Plot Overview Context · Full Book Quiz.
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Rugby union. Motor racing. US sports. Rugby League. Geoffrey Macnab. Tech news. Tech culture. News videos. Let's leave it at that. View all 9 comments. Mar 11, Mariel rated it liked it Recommends it for: Gene genie lives on his back. All of them, all except Phineas, constructed at infinite cost to themselves these Maginot Lines against this enemy they thought they saw across the frontier, this enemy who never attacked that way- if he ever attacked at all; if he was indeed the enemy.
The book cares who is watching. Gene knows you are watching. Move in for an embrace, over the shoulder a good old boy smile. You know how it is, how it was.
There we all were I don't place a lot of value in confessionals. If you wan All of them, all except Phineas, constructed at infinite cost to themselves these Maginot Lines against this enemy they thought they saw across the frontier, this enemy who never attacked that way- if he ever attacked at all; if he was indeed the enemy. If you want to know a person, really know them, it means more to me to take note of what matters to them, what they don't choose to divulge. Where was I?
I felt as if I were reading someone telling me about a book. The air was stale, the life sucked out. He wastes time foretelling of evil. If I time-traveled to fifteen years ago in Gene's past it might have felt like this. Doomed to witness the events over the shoulder of a person who wants you to believe what they want you to believe.
He wastes time telling of wanting to go back. Did he wish it never happened for himself or for Phinny's sake? The self serving voice lies. I think it was a mistake to tell the events of the story from Gene's will. The moral of the story, that you cannot forgive unless you can forgive yourself, is stated in the text. That's pretty unforgivable in my book to talk down to the reader this much. It is worse still in that it isn't earned. Everything is told, never happening, never felt.
Gene doesn't have to face up to what he did, to know himself. It is given to him through another's acceptance. I didn't need Fowles to tell me that Phinny writes letters to all the king's men. I didn't need to be told that he denies there is a war because they won't accept him as a cripple. It is baffling to me that my edition brings up Fowles' William Faulkner award a few times.
Faulkner didn't put it into his story that The Sound and the Fury wasn't about a slut who ruins the lives of her brothers.
Sure, there are some seemingly heartless readers who take it as such. I love Faulkner for the qualities this book didn't possess. Faulkner trusts the reader. What about the story, what about knowing them, the life that allows to breathe? A Separate Peace doesn't breathe.
It doesn't trust you. There are qualities to types of confessionals that interest me. Someone will tell you what sounds like their whole life story as if there is no time. They take you by the hand. This is where I live. In my life it is this type of person who usually fucks me over after a couple of days.
Someone will tell you what they consider to be important. I lived through that. Why are they telling you? Was it important you were a stranger, were they free? Gene pushes Phineas, his gold star on the chart at the end of the day, off of a tree. His heart says do it. He doesn't know what is in his heart, not always. The ghost that repeats itself doesn't die the same death. What you think you would forgive if it was someone else who did it.
Phineas is crippled. Maybe Phineas didn't want his follower to match his sports glory in the academic area. Maybe everything is as Gene says it is.
But Gene says that he feels sorry for Leper. Gene doesn't move fast enough to end the scene when he tells the school that Leper ran away from the army.
Turning 50, the classic still has something to tell us.
Sure, Gene tells that he isn't like the average boy's academy bully. When A Separate Peace is best we get to hear Leper imply what Gene looked like when he was running with the boys. Hear Gene all for enlisting with Brinker and turning his face when Phinny doesn't like the idea.
Give Brinker a nickname, what a joke. What a sissy britches. I was interested in what another character would have said about the events in their school. I was more interested in forgetting about what Gene said altogether and just watching what happened and deciding for myself. Almost, when Gene is called out on what really happened that day on the tree. I won't say fateful because I don't believe it was meant to happen.
A Separate Peace
Perhaps on another day he wouldn't have wanted to stay on top. If Phinny had given him enough attention that day, made him feel special enough. Gene won't say what happened and we know that Brinker and Leper at least suspect what happens. We know that Gene brags about his clever turnaround in the smoking room to evade questions. Was this the life?
Was it true that school and life was about being able to be the best without giving a shit about anything? I don't think the boy who scored lower on the most likely to succeed lists cared about looking good in a stupid yearbook photo if he was doing what he loved. Gene's confessional in A Separate Peace as this is what boys are like, this is what lies in their hearts. I don't feel it. I don't feel it just because the book tells me it is so.
I'm also perplexed why this is called a masterpiece when it is said right from the off Gene is telling about events from fifteen years past. Different chapters will contradict the previous one when shouldn't he have known this already? As it had all happened already? My favorite part was when Leper runs away from the army because his life would be ruined with a discharge on grounds of insanity.
He would never be hired for employment.
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This contradicts the rosy "And Stalin was great and Churchhill was great and Roosevelt was great" cheesey voice narrator from a film. I can just hear the middle-aged actor the poor girl's Tom Hanks narrating the events as the secondary actor from a CW tv show looks moony at the heartthrob rolling around the school grounds with his athletic body. Gene talked about his friend's body so much I was thinking I had wondered into a junior high school girl's lavatory. All the boys like your butt.
Blah blah blah all sixteen year old boys live the life. But what about everyone else? There were lots of boys in that school. I'm not sure if the book tells you stuff that isn't true because the author thought the readers were young and wouldn't understand unless he connected all of the dots? Or is Gene supposed to be this sociopathic and believes his audience to be suckers? But what for? The important thing, for me, about confessionals is why a person is telling you all of this to begin with.
Do they want you to know them? What is being absolved if it as easy as a saint-like school chum forgiving you? I don't think you're a bad guy. Or you could live your life and just try to be human and not fuck anyone over any more than you have to. Openness is worth more to me than any confessional story about the bad thing you did or the bad thing that happened to you. That so much of everyone and everything in his life was based on the boy he thought was higher than him says more to me than the rest of it.
That is what I think it would say if it didn't know I was watching. Because he's watching Phinny. Confessions mean something to me if they are a means to relate. To be naked about what matters to you, if you care about who you are sharing it with. This book doesn't knows you are watching and it thinks it knows who you are and what you know.
View all 36 comments. Jan 02, Malanie rated it really liked it Shelves: And they took some great notes. Turns out I live for praise, even in the afterlife c: But in other news, this book has killed me.
There are so many ways to look at it, almost all ways being tremendously SAD. They are thick as thieves, but lowkey Gene feels this rivalry?
A Separate Peace
Which Phineas seems to be completely unaware of. He tries to tell Finny what happened, that he hurt him intentionally, but Finny refuses to believe it. How can he hate him, when he loves him so much? He genuinely loves Gene, and Gene just kind of??????
Because obviously Gene loves Finny. Finny loves him back. Gene is always taking about Finny w reverence, and his tone is usually reverential instead of bitter. But ultimately, Gene cannot control his jealousy. I think he regrets it, but he also never outright acknowledges that what he did was wrong. So, he reverts to cruelty and selfishness. I wanted Finny to have a better best friend, but?????? They belong to and with one another. Maybe sometimes your soul mate is bad.
In this case, I think Gene is literally crazy, more unhinged than Finny. Gene struggles to align himself with one reality, like August in The Wicker King. August believed in crazy shit, whereas Jack only did because he was influenced by forces outside of his control. Phineas I love this boy with my entire being. Finny is so loyal????? Finny is this ideal, this beautiful LAD. The unrequited purity of affection is, I think, an accurate summary of this novel.
Gene and Finny were supposed to become gay lovers and live out their lives peacefully????? I think it's what we deserve. Mar 30, Rhonda rated it liked it. Far from wanting to simply "prove" others were wrong, I began thinking about why others might not like this book and its message. First, it is somewhat legitimate to dislike anything one must read in high school. However, if you never get past that point, life isn't much worth living. If you never come back and read some of the things on your own, you just aren't much of a human being.
Rant as one will against the unpleasantness of secondary educational methods, sooner or later, one ought to recognize that explaining value the wrong way isn't a denial of the concept. With that said, I still don't care for the heavy handedness of symbolism in, say, Billy Budd.
Second, I began to think about all the people today who run away from hit and run accidents, ostensibly for selfish reasons, and I tried to see if there was some sort of parallel with issues of honor and accountability and the apparent plethora of irresponsible behavior. While there may be some grain of truth to this, I think this book's message evades the modern mind on still another level.
This book is a bit heavy handed on the imagery also, beginning with a snotty group at a prep school. In a day when rich people appear somewhat vile to some, perhaps because they must be forced to share their wealth with us, perhaps a prep school doesn't serve as a good choice setting in which to begin. When I first read this book years ago, I recall feeling so alienated from the setting that I thought that whatever ills happened to anyone at this school, they all deserved it just because they were there.
Unfortunately, all that feeling did was make me feel uncomfortably similar to Gene. It was, at the same time, too juvenile and yet too replete with boyish bravado.
The two main characters are, nevertheless, interesting. I think that Gene is the kind of everyman with a touch more paranoia thrown in, suspecting that everyone must think pretty much like he does, even if it is done in secret. Finny and how can anyone today admire someone named Phineas? He is the one who can flaunt tradition but do so with such an open heart that he is automatically popular.
From what I read about about John F. Kennedy, the two seem to have the same charisma, maybe even the same persona. Gene knows that if he tried half of what Finny did, he couldn't pull it off. The rest of us know it about ourselves too. This includes the elitist, Brinker Hadley. The book is worth reading just being able to watch people like Hadley squirm. Yet once again, perhaps we don't see these characterizations much any more in what has unfortunately become a PC society.
Further I thought that the underlying theme of the war doesn't work very well any longer either, perhaps society as a whole becoming so isolated from any concept of the necessity of war, individuals unwilling to sacrifice for any means beyond personal gain. When you are facing an impending great uncertainty, you tend to do things which negate that kind of looming doom, just like these boys did. However the main reason I believe that this book doesn't really carry a strong message to the modern reader is beyond all the things I have yet considered: I tend to think that the failure to recognize the importance of this book's message is our unwillingness to acknowledge in some very fundamental way, the pain we ultimately incur upon ourselves in life through the necessity of our actions.
This book essentially pulls out our dirty laundry which we have hidden away, perhaps something we today brag about being natural and therefore no longer sinful. Perhaps it is our modern inability to acknowledge our living sin as having missed the mark in our daily lives.
I can certainly recall very easily my feeling justified in my actions when younger which purposefully hurt others only to acknowledge silently later that I was so very wrong. As I see it, that is what this book is about, not so much making the mistake, something irretrievably wrong, but learning to deal with the kind of repercussions which follow from our original loathsome behavior.
Still, even had the author considered this, he knew that it was the conclusion which was the important part, the part which makes one a human being, being able to find a forgiveness of self rather than carrying the weight around forever. Dec 20, Annet rated it really liked it Shelves: This is an American classic I didn't know yet, but got to know via Goodreads.
Turns out many of my Goodreads friends read it already, so I discovered this is a well known book. Beautiful read. Brooding story, a coming of age tale with a dark side. Need to reread it again for all the details and the beautiful language. In some way it made me think of Brideshead Revisited, a grand book as well.
For those who don't know this book yet Set at a boy's boarding school in New England during the early This is an American classic I didn't know yet, but got to know via Goodreads. A harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence.
What happens between the two friends one summer, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world. View 2 comments. Jun 03, Joseph rated it really liked it. The book I didn't read in high school but should have. May 04, Kimberly Dawn rated it it was amazing Shelves: A close friendship becomes tragic when envy turns ugly and results in life-altering consequences.
Gene Forrester, the main character and narrator of the story, visits Devon, the boys prep school he attended as a teenager in New England. The loving f A close friendship becomes tragic when envy turns ugly and results in life-altering consequences. The loving friendship between the two young men is left open to interpretation. A highly recommended classic coming of age story. Oct 04, Burt rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Lit-lovers, Those Coming of Age.
He wants to feel equal. He wants to deserve the friendship. When Phineas pulls him away from his French studies to attend a now ritualized lake baptism, Gene goes, but his mind is in a dark place.
The results are a turning point in the book.
Gene is so worried about his own insecurities he mistakes Phineas's confidence for worldly assurance. In reality, Phineas is the most naive of them all. In the enclosed environment of Devon School he can bend the world to fit his own kaleidoscopic. For a while he can even convince himself that the ongoing war is a hoax.
A medicinal drug But it's only the fat old men who get the joke.Yet it has a relatively low rating on GR: It's on my shelf at present and I've been meaning to read it again to see if it still is as good as I remember it, but with all of these new books, it's hard to make time for one I've already read.
He invented games, instigated trips, and even started a secret society called the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session.
For a while he can even convince himself that the ongoing war is a hoax. Here, Gene uses the term to describe the barriers people put up to defend themselves against a perceived threat.
Many books will entertain you or at least you can say you learned something new. Script use: Here, it is a nickname for the quiet, aloof Elwin Lepellier.
Why did I let Finny talk me into stupid things like this? Comment posted!