The entire story of A Separate Peace is narrated by the main character, Gene Forrester. Every action in the novel is presented through his eyes, as Forrester looks back upon the summer and fall of 1942 from the perspective of 1957. Gene Forrester, therefore, is a thirty-one-year-old man looking back at the year 1942, when he was sixteen years old at the Devon School.
With its publication in the United States in 1960 (it was first published in England), John Knowlesâs short novel A Separate Peace became an instant success with young readers. Within that year, the book was granted three awards: the first William Faulkner Foundation Award, the Rosenthal Award of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and the National Association of Independent Schools Award.
“Because it seemed clear that wars were were not made by generations & their special stupidities, but that wars were made instead by something ignorant in the human heart.” A Separate Peace, John Knowles. Pinner writes: "Harrowing, luminous tale of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual; Phineas a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens one summer banishes their innocence & world. Eternally grateful for my English teacher for having me read…
In A Separate Peace, Gene and Finny, two members of a group of prep school boys taking summer classes, play a game that involves jumping from a high tree limb. When it's revealed that Gene made Finny fall, Finny gets upset and falls again, this time to his death.