A Separate Peace is a novel about war, but happens to focus more on the war within the human heart. This novel tells a story of two boys' codependency during World War Two. The plot does not concentrate on the common conflicts associated with war, but rather the inner conflicts of adolescence. A Separate Peace was written by John Knowles and was published in 1959. The genre of this selection can be described as both a coming-of-age story and a tragedy. The strongest feature of this selection is the development of a love-hate relationship that can be easily related to by the reader. Also, another powerful feature of the novel is Knowles' ability to make the reader both sympathize and despise the narrator of this story.
A Separate Peace is about Gene Forrester and the conflicts that he faces throughout his high school career. Thus there are many struggles that I could choose to describe. The most significant of these, however, is Gene's struggle with his own identity. At the onset of the novel, Gene is displeased with his personality or lack thereof. He envies his best friend's wit and charisma, consequently finding himself acting like his friend and mirroring his actions. When Finny, his best friend, is absent, Gene finds himself wearing Finny's clothes. He also tells the teacher Mr. Prud'homme about their day at the beach, although they disobeyed the rules, to see if he too possessed Finny's ability to get away with defiance using his charm. It is this that allows him to sleep peacefully that night. At the end of the novel, it is as if Gene and Finny have molded into simply one powerful individual where, at this point in time, Gene finally feels complete. In reality, finding himself caused Gene to realize his dependence on Finny. When Finny is gone, Gene manages to take a part of his best friend - living both of their dreams. He is able to overcome his initial uncertainty of who he is by instigating friendships and then further developing them.