A Separate Piece Literary Essay Example
A Separate Piece Literary Essay Example

A Separate Piece Literary Essay Example

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  • Pages: 3 (554 words)
  • Published: May 19, 2018
  • Type: Analysis
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The novel "A Separate Peace" by John Knowles tells the story of two boys, Gene and Finny, who form a strong bond while attending Devon School. However, Gene's jealousy drives him to commit a tragic act that ultimately leads to the death of his best friend. When Gene later returns to Devon and apologizes, buried emotions resurface. The purpose of this essay is to showcase the significance of flashback in the narrative. The first instance of flashback takes place when Gene visits Devon and reflects on the importance of a particular tree – an importance that will soon become clear.

The second thesis statement is the conflict between character and self. In this conflict, Gene realizes that his feelings towards Finny are stronger than he originally thought. Another important element in the story is the staircase. A


ll of these elements contribute to the significance of the story. At the beginning of the story, Gene visits Devon and reminisces about a tree beyond the river bend. He compares this tree to the giants of his childhood, who he later realizes have become smaller with age. (p.7)

The tree in this book symbolizes the lasting impact of the past, reflecting Gene's contemplation on how experiences and relationships can age without growth. It plays a role in various events like Gene jumping from it, secret meetings, and Finny breaking his legs. Flashbacks provide depth to the narrative by offering insight into shaping events for the characters. Subtle foreshadowing hints at significant occurrences. Gene's changing feelings towards Finny create tension, particularly during a tea party where he secretly desires Finny's downfall. As the story progresses

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there is a sense of impending tragedy for Finny that leaves readers wondering about his fate.

During his visit to Devon, Gene notices a staircase that leads to Finnie's tragic accident. On page five, he acknowledges the surprising fact that even though the stairs are old and made of hard marble, the middle of each step has shallow wear. This oversight becomes significant when Finny falls and fractures his legs. As we continue reading, we observe a recurring inner conflict in Gene as he goes through different emotions.

The central focus of the events in John Knowles' "A Separate Peace" is Gene's increasing jealousy towards Finny. At Devon, Finny is regarded as the perfect boy who excels in all areas of life. Through Gene's recollections, readers gain insight into both what transpired and his feelings towards Finny. The author establishes a bond with readers by presenting these events and enabling them to empathize with Gene's emotions. By incorporating flashbacks, audiences can witness the progression of events and observe how things have changed from the past to the present.

The book is centered around Gene returning to Devon and experiencing a flashback. This flashback reveals the story of life at Devon and helps us to connect with the character. John Knowles has structured the narrative as if Gene were recounting a story directly from his journal without any alterations. In my view, the main literary element to focus on is the flashback. It sets the stage for the plot of the story, which revolves around how Gene caused his best friend's death but was ultimately forgiven. The flashback is therefore a crucial component

of this book.

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