A Separate Peace Essay

Submitted By Danny-Feeney
Words: 1220
Pages: 5

Daniel Feeney

Mrs. Shapiro
English 1 CPE
14 January 2015
Changes At Devon In the novel A Separate Peace, the main characters face many times of war and peace and have they have to make hard decisions to stay strong. These decisions changed the boys and everyone at the Devon either for the better or for the worse. Some of the times would be when Phineas fell from the tree, the winter carnival or when Phineas passed away at the end of the book. These times shaped one place in particular: Devon, the boy’s school, was the main setting for these events during the year 1943. During the novel, the boy’s prep school has a very significant change from the beginning to the end of the novel because of not only a loss of innocence but because of a major change in character. At Devon many changes occur, such as the time when the news of Phineas’ fall from the tree. When finny fell from the tree there was a “break” that came with it. This is told when Gene said “Eventually a fact emerged; it was one of his legs, which had been “shattered.”(28) What Gene means by “shattered” is the literal sense that his leg was broken. But what the author, john Knowles was trying to say was that the peace at Devon was shattered because Phineas represents peace and when he was broken the peace was broken. Later when Gene said “Still it had come to an end, in the last long rays of daylight at the tree, when Phineas fell “. (36) He felt nothing but guilty about jouncing the limb to make Phineas and he couldn’t get over how peace was shattered. Later when Phineas was sent to the infirmary then home at the end of the summer session, which was peaceful, war moves in with the winter session because Phineas isn’t at Devon. This is show when the fight between Gene and Quackenbush happened. “Quackenbush had clamped his arm in some kind of tight wrestling grip around my neck, and I was glad in this moment not to be a cripple. (39)” another way that it is shown that war has moved in is when Gene says, “In the same way the war, beginning almost humorously with announcements about maids and days spent at apple-picking, commenced its invasion of the school. (47)” this quote made by Gene shows how he is comparing the War making its “invasion of the school” and how close the war is even though it is actually very far from them. This was one way that Devon majorly changed. Even after Phineas’ fall Devon still changes in major way like when Phineas organizes the winter carnival. This is shown when Gene talks about Phineas at the winter carnival “Phineas, during one of Chet’s Spanish inventions, to climb onto the Prize Table and with only one leg to create a droll dance among the prizes. (72)” this quote shows that now that Phineas was back, the peace and fun was back. Another way to interpret this quote would be that when Phineas came back, even though his leg was in a cast, the peace was still there at Devon and the winter carnival was an effort to bring back peace to Devon. This is shown even more when Gene says “I jerked the jug to my mouth and took a huge gulp of cider in relief, and the violence latent in the day drifted away. (72)” I think that this quote hits the bull’s-eye on the claim that peace was brought back to Devon when the winter carnival was organized by Phineas. On the flipside, when the news of leper comes in the form of a telegram which tells Gene to go to the Christmas Location. When Gene gets there, him and leper get into an argument about the war and it leads to violence. “Still laughing, ‘like that time you crippled him for life.’ I shoved my foot against the rung of his chair and kicked. Leper went over in his chair and collapsed against the floor. Laughing and crying he lay with his head on the floor and his knees up, ‘… always were a savage underneath.’(78)” this quote shows how leper brought turmoil and fighting because of his ignorance and when he brought up Phineas’ fall blaming it on Gene, a sense of war filled the room. But when Leper’s