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A Separate Peace by John Knowles


A Separate Peace by John Knowles Author Information About the Novel World War II Homefront Life at Prep School Characters Conflicts Subjects Themes Motifs – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: A Separate Peace by John Knowles

A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  • Author Information
  • About the Novel
  • World War II
  • Homefront
  • Life at Prep School
  • Characters
  • Conflicts
  • Subjects
  • Themes
  • Motifs
  • Dualities

Author Information
  • Born on September, 16,1926, in Fairmont, West
  • Left home at fifteen to attend Phillips Exeter
    Academy, a prestigious boarding school in New
  • After graduation, he spent eight months in the
    U.S. Air Force, then enrolled at Yale University,
    which awarded him a bachelors degree in 1949.

Author Information
  • He worked as a journalist and free-lance writer
    from 1950-1956.
  • He traveled through Europe at this time and began
    to publish short stories.
  • In 1957 he became an associate editor at Holiday
  • Published his first novel, A Separate Peace, in
  • The success of this novel allowed him to resign
    his position as editor and devote his time to
    traveling and writing fiction

Author Information
  • He has published eight novels, a book on travel,
    and a collection of stories.
  • Lectured at Princeton University University of
    North Carolina
  • None of Knowles s later novels received critical
    and popular acclaim that greeted A Separate Peace
  • Knowles often explores the effects of greed,
    competitiveness, and emotional repression on his
    characters, many of whom are affluent Americans.

About the Novel
  • Developed from his short story Phineas
  • He began writing the novel in 1954, when he was
  • Eleven publishers in the U.S. rejected his
    manuscript before a London publisher finally
    accepted it
  • Published in U.S. in 1960
  • Over 9 million copies have been sold

About the Novel
  • It won the William Faulkner Foundation Award for
    a notable first novel the Rosenthal Award of
    the national Institute of Arts and Letters
  • The character Gene Forrester is modeled after
    Knowles himself
  • Phineas is modeled after his friend, David
    Hackett, a member of the 1948 U.S. Hockey Team
  • According to Knowles, By no means did all the
    incidents happen as portrayed, but the emotional
    truth of it comes out of my life.

World War II
  • A Separate Peace is set against the background of
    World War II, which lasted from?
  • 1939 -1945.
  • The war pitted the Allied against the Axis powers
  • Who were the Allied powers?
  • (U.S., Britain, the Soviet Union, and France)
  • Who were the Axis powers?
  • (Germany, Italy, Japan)
  • When did the U.S. enter the war?
  • In 1941 after Japan launched a surprise attack
    against U.S. military installations at Pearl
    harbor, Hawaii

  • Nearly every part of the globe was affected by
    fighting .
  • Estimates of the number of people killed range
    from ?
  • 35 million to 60 million.
  • Who were the Allied Leaders Mentioned in the
  • Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great
  • Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French
    Force in exile
  • Chiang Kai-shek, Chinese military and political
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President of U.S.
  • Joseph Stalin, Premier of Soviet Union

World War II on the Homefront
  • Teenage boys were more sheltered than boys from
    Europe from the effects of World War II.
  • Many however were preoccupied with the war for
    many of them were certain that they would have to
    serve in the armed forces.
  • At many prep schools the Anticipatory Program was
    established to allow students to complete their
    high school education before they reached the
    draft age of 18.

World War II
  • The curriculum was altered to emphasize subjects
    recommended by the armed services, such as
    trigonometry, foreign languages, first aid, Morse
    code, and rifle marksmanship.
  • Knowles once described the loss of young
    teachers Most of the faculty was over 50 and
    there was not too much rapport between teachers
    and students. For the most part, we were left
    pretty much on our own.

World War II
  • The U.S. started drafting men in Sept. of 1940, a
    year before entering the war.
  • All men between 18 and 64 had to register for
    service (the oldest drafted was actually 38).
  • Nearly two-thirds of the U.S. soldiers were
  • A few deferments were granted to men in the
    fields of agriculture and industrial jobs.
  • Others were rejected due to medical problems.

  • Although no battles were fought in the U.S.,
    World War II had a strong impact on civilian
  • Women and minorities were encouraged to work in
    industries that they were once excluded from.

  • Communities all over the nation organized scrap
    drives, collecting metal and other materials that
    could be useful for military production.

  • The government rationed gasoline, rubber, and
    certain food products.
  • Posters, motion pictures, and publicity events
    constantly reminded Americans of the need to
    remain united and support the war effort.

Life at Prep School
  • The Devon School is modeled after Phillips Exeter
  • There they learned social skills that will help
    them fill prominent roles in society.
  • The students live on campus the tuition
    approaches the level of ivy league schools.
  • Schools resembled lavish country clubs with
    impressive architecture, first-rate sporting
    facilities, and grounds that stretch for hundreds
    of acres.

Life at Prep School
  • Since students live apart from their families,
    they tend to form deep and lasting friendships.
  • Life at prep schools can also be demanding with
    intense pressures to succeed, little free time,
    . lack of privacy.
  • For loners less competitive students, adapting
    to this environment can be extremely difficult.

  • Who was Gene Forester?
  • Gene Forester- This character is the narrator
    protagonist whose envy of Finny eventually leads
    to his untimely demise. He is also suspicious of
    Finny's motivations since his cynical attitude
    causes him to think that no individual could be
    as completely pure as Finny. So, he projects his
    own devious nature on other people.

  • Who was Phineas?
  • Phineas- He is a nonconformist antagonist who
    fails to acknowledge school regulations and
    tradition. This free-spirited behavior is
    illustrated in his consistent lateness to dinner,
    wearing the school tie as a belt, wearing a pink
    shirt, and organizing the Super Suicide Society
    of the Summer Session.

  • Who is Brinker Hadley?
  • Brinker Hadley-This character is an elitist
    student leader that is concerned about losing his
    power to Finny's popularity.He is politically
    inclined , somewhat conservative, and very
    concerned about the proper thing in any

  • Who was Edward Lepellier?
  • Edward Lepellier - He is an isolationist
    naturalist that was ridiculed by his classmates.
    He is important in the events of the novel since
    he was present when Finny "fell" from the oak
    tree. Leper surprises his classmates by choosing
    to enlist in the paratroopers after watching an
    army recruiter video, although he later deserts
    the army and returns to his Vermont home
    suffering insanity.

  • Chet Douglas, Bobby Zane, Brownie Perkins -
    minor characters. Each exemplify the perfect
    Devon student obling and considerate, therefore
    having no hope of being somebody.
  • Mr. Prudhomme, Mr. Patch-Withers, Mr.
    Ludsbury- Devon teachers

  • Dr. Stanpole-is the kind-hearted school physician
    who treats Finnys injured leg and advises Gene
    on how to best help Finny.
  • Phil Latham- school wrestling coach
  • Mr. Hadley- Brinkers father, proponent that
    ones greatest privilege and greatest moment is
    to serve ones country and ones goal should be
    to achieve a
  • military record you can be proud of.

  • What are the major conflicts?
  • Man vs. Man (External Conflict) Gene vs. Finny
  • Man vs. Himself (Internal Conflict) Gene vs.
  • Man vs. Society Students vs. Challenge of
    becoming soldiers (face the reality of the war)

  • Jealousy Gene is envious of Finny's natural
    athletic ability.
  • Irresponsibility Finny refuses to follow the
    school's regulations
  • Denial Finny denies that Gene pushed him out of
    the tree, since he believes that all people are
    innately good.
  • Insecurity Gene is insecure about his own
    ability and intelligence.
  • Friendship Gene Finny are supposedly best

  • Understanding conflict within yourself is a
    necessary part of growing up.
  • Friendship grows through conflict, resolving
    differences, forgiveness, and accepting strengths
    and weaknesses of each other.
  • A persons own insecurities may cause him or her
    to misinterpret a friends actions or words.
  • Personal joys and pains are felt more strongly
    than even great public events, such as war.
  • There can be no end to aggression and war and
    rivalry and hate, there can be no freedom on a
    worldwide scale, until each individual can
    confront and conquer the ignorance in his or
    her own heart-that fear of imagined enemies.

  • Tree - war friendship hostility envy
    Garden of Eden, mans fall from perfection
  • Trip to Beach - friendship is declared and
    admitted finny is the leader /role-model Gene
    is the follower
  • The River-clean Devongoodness vs. dirty
  • Blitzball-Finnys interest in war his
    leadership amongst other boys
  • Devon School- U.S. isolation from fighting Europe
    at the beginning of the war

  • Olympic Games- dream, Finny can no longer play
    sports.it didnt mean that he does not have any
    influence just because a direct participation is
    not possible
  • The Trial- Finny learns the truth Brinker tries
    to convict Gene who is also his competitor
  • Woods- escape from Genes problems
  • Finny- goodness, Christ
  • Gene-savage, darker side of humanity
  • Leper-gentle souls escape from the grotesque
    elements of reality by developing a mental
  • Brinker- represents individuals who because of
    some change in perspective, become disillusioned
    with their former ideals Justice Incarnate

  • Rite of Passage
  • Eden
  • Good vs. Evil..rivers, paradise of Devon vs.
    rest of world, summer with Finny vs. winter

  • The two riversthe upper clear, refreshing stream
    vs. the lower, an ugly, salty marsh
  • War in Europe vs. Peace at Devon, the U.S.
  • Adulthood and Adolescence
  • Private vs. Public War
  • Life of Conformity/Discipline vs.Life of
  • Present Time vs. the Past
  • Studious Types vs. Athletic/ carefree types
  • Rococo (Rococo was characterized by an opulence,
    grace, playfulness, and lightness) vs. Puritan
    architecture (plain style - a mode of expression
    characterized by simplicity, accessibility, and
    the absence of ornament)
  • Army recruiters vs. teaching Masters

  • Archetypes
  • a typical, ideal, or classic example of
    something something that serves as the model or
    pattern for other things of the same type
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