A Separate Peace

An Analysis of the Dissimilarity Between Phineas and Brinker

While World War II rages in Europe, a different type of struggle affects the young students at an all-boys private boarding school. "A Separate Peace", by John Knowles, outlines the emotional struggle at Devon during the 1942 summer and winter sessions. This conflict is best illustrated by Knowles's use of varying personalities in two of the primary characters, Phineas and Brinker Hadley. Although the same age, the boys exhibit different personalities that correspond to the differing moods at Devon during the summer and winter sessions. The laid-back anti-war personality of Phineas reflects the mood during the summer session, while the orderly pro-war attitude found at Devon during the winter term corresponds to the personality of Brinker. Brinker and Phineas's views on war, as well as their reactions to Phineas's fall, are shaped by their respective personalities.

The author uses Brinker and Phineas to represent the contrasting attitudes at Devon during the summer and winter sessions. The winter session is characterized by the conservatism and pro-war attitude of the faculty and students. The pro-war attitude is demonstrated throughout the year by the curriculum's emphasis on physical preparedness and...

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