A Separate Peace


is the title of the novel relevant to its content and why is the word 'peace' spelt the way it is?

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Last updated by jireh a #151127
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I like Gene

The title of the book is indeed relevant to the story, and peace is spelled exactly as it should be. The point of the novel, and of the title, is to show the alternate reality of lies that Gene and Finny create. When Gene pushes Finny out of the tree, Finny refuses to believe his best friend would intentionally hurt him. He instead blocks out the truth and imagines that it is all an accident. When Finny learns he cannot fight in the war because of his leg, he makes up a conspiracy theory, saying that there is no war. When Brinker tries to search for the truth behind Finny's fateful fall, both Finny and Gene try to block him out. The two of them prefer pleasant lies to horrible truths. They seclude themselves from that which they do not wish to believe. In doing so, they create a "separate peace," or a world in which Gene and Finny can be happy in their false beliefs rather than facing the truth. However, near the end of the novel, Brinker holds a trial to discover Gene's guilt or innocence in Finny's fall. Both Gene and Finny are finally confronted with the truth. For Finny, it is too much, and he runs out of the room and down the stairs, completely overwhelmed by the truth of what Gene did to him. He falls and breaks his leg again, in what ends up being a fatal injury. After Finny's death, Gene has mixed feelings. He feels relieved that the whole conflict is ended, but he feels dreadfully guilty and alone, since he no longer has Finny. He no longer has his separate peace.

In addition to Katherine's insightful answer, one can also conclude that Gene and Finny are "separate" pieces of each other. One is the child: carefree, fun-loving, innocent, somewhat naive (Finny), and the other is the adult: cynical, suspicious, guilty, reflective (Gene).

Remember also that the novel is set during war time, when the boys are still "separate" from the war - at least until they reach draft age.

Can anyone think of a good alternate title and some reasons why?

I never thought of it that way,Katherine. That's great thinking.

i like gene too, but he's :(

Does anyone have any idea of what the theme of this story could be?

Actually Jim you are correct. Gene isn't inoccent. He almost broke the line of friendship they had between them, and his leb, but Finny never realized it. They are seperate "pieces" of each other, but Finny has the seperate peace between them.

Finny sees no wrong in Gene, which makes him a good friend, possibly a brother. I think Gene has him a good friend.