A separate peace” by John Knowles. In this book two boys named Gene and Finny are attending an establishment at Devon; the boys quickly bond but when Gene starts to get jealous he ends up killing his best friend. Gene ends up returning back to Devon to apologize, emotions quickly stir up. I will explain to you in one short essay how flashback is important to this story. We first run into flashback when Gene decides to visit Devon and remembers the “ tree”; this tree holds value which you will see in a moment.
The second thesis statement would be character vs. self, gene begins to notice his intentions towards finny are stronger than he thought. Lastly the staircase, all these things hold up great value to this story. In the beginning of the story Gene goes back to visit Devon, he tells us about the tree beyond the river bend. “ This was the tree, and it seemed to me standing there to resemble those men, the giants of your childhood, whom you encounter years later and find that they are not merely smaller in relation to your growth, but that they are absolutely smaller, shrunken by age. page 7.
To me the tree is the turning point in this book, here gene tells us that things in your past don’t go away, they just get older with age, and you don’t get any bigger. From jumping off of it, to having S. S. S meetings, and to having finny break his legs. If there was no flashback in this book then there really wouldn’t be a book in my opinion. Throughout the whole book we are given little subliminal messages called foreshadowing. When gene talks on page 8 about “ Nothing endures, not a tree, not love, not even a death by violence. Being carved in the trees trunk, this gives us a hint about death. Directly when Gene mentions later on that his feeling for finny would change, the reader would assume that something is about to happen. What happens in this case, our friend Gene starts to feel jealousy towards finny. At the tea party when Gene starts to wish for Finny to get caught; we are able to see some tension build up. Lastly towards the end when things start to go the wrong way for finny we can only think to ourselves is finny going to die?
While Gene is visiting Devon he sees the flight of stairs that lead up to Finnie’s death. On page five Gene states “ Although they were old stairs, the worn moons In the middle of each step were not very deep. The marble must be unusually hard…it was surprising that I had over looked that, that crucial fact. ” Referring to when finny falls and yet again breaks his legs. During the middle of the book we began to see some character vs. self going on. This begins to happen frequently as we see gene go through different emotions.
While this is taking place Gene begins to feel some jealousy towards Finny. At Devon Finny is the ideal boy; great at everything he does. Gene’s glance to the past helps us see what exactly went down, and his emotions towards finny. My conclusion of “ A separate Peace” by John Knowles Is that the author can relate to the reader by allowing them to see what happens, and letting them feel what Gene felt. With flashback you can show the viewer how events took place and see how things have changed from the past to the present.
The whole book is based on Gene revisiting Devon; he ends up having a flashback which tells us the story of life at Devon and allows us to gain a connection with the character. The way John Knowles has it set up is as if Gene was telling a story right out of his journal word for word. In my opinion Flashback is the main literary element to consider. This builds up to the plot of the story; How Gene caused the death of his best friend, but was yet forgiven. This is why Flashback is a major essence to this book.