Teacher Guide

A Separate Peace Lesson Plan

Introduction to A Separate Peace

The novel A Separate Peace is a largely autobiographical work that draws on John Knowles' experience at Exeter. Like Gene, Knowles attended a summer session at school to make up some classes; however, the year was 1943, not 1942, as it is in his novel. Other than that, the summer session that Knowles describes in the book was very much akin to the summer session that he attended at Exeter. "We really did have a club whose members jumped from the branch of a very high tree into the river as initiation," Knowles has said of his book: "the only elements in A Separate Peace which were not in that summer were anger, envy, violence, and hatred." But the atmosphere at Exeter was similar to...

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