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John Knowles Essay

895 words - 4 pages

The Life of John Knowles
“I went back to the Devon School not long ago, and found it looking oddly newer than when I was a student there fifteen years before” (Knowles 1). This was the very first statement that John Knowles wrote in his first published novel, A Separate Peace. John Knowles based a lot of this book on Phillips Exeter Academy, which is an impressive boarding school located in New Hampshire (Literature and Times). The author John Knowles connects his life to his novel, and the connection between his life and this work makes this story more believable and more interesting.
John Knowles was born on September 16, 1962, in Fair Mount, West Virginia. As a child, John’s ...view middle of the document...

“It was that summer that I realized I had fallen in love with Exeter” (Exeter.edu). I can understand now why the scene with Phineas jumping out of the tree into the pond was the center of the novel because that’s what John loved the most about Exeter. John also enjoyed the great tress and the wide area of playing fields (Exeter.edu). During the fall term of when John attended Phillips Exeter, World War II was affecting everyone at school. “I didn’t entirely like this glossy new surface, because it made the school look like a museum, and that’s exactly what it was for me, and I did not want it to be” (Knowles 1). In A Separate Peace, Gene looked back on his fifteen year and realized the fear that existed within him. He knew that the Devon School was like his second home but he had to escape from the distress that came with the joy of the school (Knowles 2).
Since the children at the Devon School had no family with them, the kids were there for each other in an important way. Two major characters in the novel were Phineas and Gene. They were roommates and even though there was jealously and tension between them; they were like brothers. Since World War II was happening, competitiveness between the two boys stood in their way. Gene was academically sharp while Finny was the best athlete. Bitterness and Envy of Finny lead Gene to become violent and malicious. “In the end Gene realizes that war, hatred, rivalry, and betrayal are all based on fear” (Shuman 815). John Knowles demonstrates this theme by...

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