"A Separate Peace," takes place during wartime and at Devon's prep school for boys. Gene and Finny are best friends as well as the main characters portrayed in the novel. The school mainly focuses on school work and preparing the students for World War 1. During this time, many young boys like Gene and Finny could not escape from the reality of the war and school, but Finny managed to create ideas that created an atmosphere that took Gene and his classmates away from their reality.
Around the summertime, the boys that attended Devon came back for another year and they had a summer athletics program for the students to participate. Gene's thoughts showed that Finny didn't think much of the athletics, "He was disgusted with that summer's athletic program-a little tennis, some swimming, clumsy softball, badminton," (Knowles 35). Finny felt shocked and outraged because to him playing sports was an escape from what was going on outside of Devon and the stress from the classrooms. Eventually, Finny thought of a game called blitz ball which used a medicine ball. The term blitz ball had some meaning with the war because a few students suggested it. Even though the name had a meaning to the war and it was somewhat causing a stress to the students, the name didn't stop them from enjoying the game any less. The moment Finny invented the game of blitz ball the boys felt as if they were escaping reality through the game and every time that they played. Any students who played got to escape the stress, class work, and world for a short period of time. Blitz ball was very popular because Finny would spontaneously think of new ways and rules to play, therefore even Gene thought, "Everybody played it; I believe a form of it is still popular at Devon," (Knowles 39). Finny and Gene were usually the main characters to achieve a sense of accomplishment when it came to escaping from reality.