The novel, A separate Peace written by John Knowles, contrasts many different settings, actions, and characters. The story is set in a boy's prep school during World War Two. The main characters Gene and Phineas are greatly contrasted because of their opposite ways. Throughout the duration of the story, both the Naguamsett and the Devon river are contrasted as opposites as well as the Winter and summer sessions at Devon School. Gene Forester is a senior at Devon Boarding School. Gene is the type of guy who acts much like an adult.
Being on time for events is important to him. In the story Gene's goal for the year is to become valedictorian of his school. In order to achieve his goal, Gene works diligently at studying for his classes. He always avoids breaking the rules at Devon, but this is difficult for him because his best friend Phineas is very persuasive.
Gene is a follower if Phineas. Both Gene and Phineas are complete opposites. In the story, Phineas plays the role as Gene's best friend. Phineas is a leader and athletics is his prime activity. As Gene excels in academics, Phineas excels in sports. He is a natural at every sport he attempts.
Phineas creates the game Blitz ball and he is the best player out of all of the boys that attend Devon. He is timed by Gene in the one-hundred yards of free-style. Though he has never had a day of swim practice in his life, Phineas brakes the Devon Swimming record. When it comes to school, Phineas never studies and always received Ds and Fs for grades, while Gene always received As. Phineas never cares for being prompt. In the story Phineas gets a spontaneous idea to ride bikes to the beach.
This is a violation of the rules, but Phineas does not care for rules. Gene and Phineas together spend the night at the beach. When Phineas awakes in the morning, like an innocent child he plays in the ocean. Gene displays adult like maturity in that he does not play in the ocean. He urges Phineas to leave the beach with him so they can be at school in time for Gene to study for his test in the morning. The two boys are very different from one another.
The summer session and winter session are two time periods that are contrasted in A Separate Peace. The summer session takes place during the summer in New Hampshire at Devon. Less amount of students attended school in the summer session, than in the winter session. It is extremely easy to break the Devon rules and get away with it during the summer session because the teachers are so laid back with all of the children.
The weather is warm and happy during the summer session. The boys are aloud to act freely, which allows them to create their own "separate peace" from the war. Although it is against the rules, Gene and Phineas jump into the Devon River from a tree. When they are caught due to their absence from dinner, both boys are let off without punishment. During this time boys are allowed to act as boys, even though a lot of rues re broken. Every thing is different during the winter session.
Teachers at Devon become extremely strict in the winter. Punishment is the result when a rule is broken. Hard work is to be done in the winter, rather it be school, or shoveling snow for the railroads, so trains are able to get through. Everyone is busy even through the cold harsh weather. The Naguamsett and the Devon River are the two main rivers that were contrasted in A Separate Peace. The Devon River is viewed as a clean river, where the water is pure.
It represents the innocence of the journey through manhood and the "separate peace", in which the boys create with each other, aside from the war. This river is surrounded by the beauty of trees. Secret Society meetings are held by this river. Before each session both Gene and Phineas jump from a tree into this river.
The Naugamsett River is considered to be ugly and dreary. The water is brown, murky, and filled with silt. A meeting is held at this river in which they burn the Iliad. This river represents the cold realities and struggles of adolescents. A Separate Peace, contrasts numerous points. The story reflects life for a group of boys at a private boarding school during World War Two.
The author uses contrasts in his story a separate Peace to draw his reader's attention and to show a comparison of the Peaceful setting at Devon and the reality of war. Through contrasts the different personalities of the characters in the story can be better understood.