A Separate Peace

Dramatic Change in A Separate Peace 11th Grade

High school is a time for great physical, mental, and emotional changes in youth. Some students experience a one-foot height change, others, an epiphany. These changes happen over the course of high school, but can be brought about quickly under the correct circumstances. In the novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles, Phineas is another victim of high school changes, catalyzed by injury. He begins his adolescent life normally, as a superb athlete, yet a tragic "accident" wrecks his chance at a this normal life and puts Finny in a state of denial. However, he eventually accepts his reality by snapping out of his dreamer mentality. The progression of Finny's mental state is indicative of how trauma can catapult the normally unsettling growth of youth in high school into a state of disbelief and denial, detaching one from reality.

Finny begins life at Devon school as a dreamer. He has a free spirit, creating activities and doing odd things for pure amusement. As Finny is trying on unusual clothes, he ponders "...what would happen if I looked like a fairy to everyone" (17). Phineas really does not care what others think about him; he is just curious for his own sake. This dressing scene and the pages following in which he wears the...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 722 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4148 literature essays, 1394 sample college application essays, 171 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in