A Separate Peace

Growing Up in A Separate Peace 11th Grade

As Ernest Hemingway once wisely proclaimed, “All things truly wicked start from innocence” (Hemingway 73). The truth in Hemingway’s words is that most everything does begin as pure and true, and only through a series of components does it turn into something that could be labeled as “wicked.” The most common of these components for human beings is the end of youth and ignorance in the form of adolescence. Coming of age siphons off the innocence initially inhabiting a person as they mature becoming more aware of their surroundings and themselves. This concept is illustrated throughout John Knowles’ novel A Separate Peace, a story of individual growth in the midst of the chaos of World War II at Devon Academy, a prestigious all-boy school in New England. Protagonist Gene Forrester and his best friend Phineas face the darker side of adolescence in this harrowing and thought-evoking parable. The widespread destruction occurring in the distant war is reflected in the more local and personal damage characters such as Gene and Phineas are experiencing in everyday life; the war itself is another component that aids in the ruination of innocence. The events of one summer, like the world war, banish the innocence of these boys and their...

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