The title of the novel A Separate Peace implies many insights which show how tranquillity existed at the Devon School; that which occurred during a specific time period, or that of certain characters. The Summer Session of Devon served as a peaceful interval between the spring and fall semesters, during which Gene and Phineas found peace within themselves. The Summer Session was a few dozen boys being force-fed education. The rules were not enforced strictly, if they were enforced at all.
The boys had been an idiosyncratic, leaderless band…undirected except by the eccentric notions of Phineas. (Knowles, 66. During the Summer Session, Gene and Phineas were also ineligible to be drafted into the army. They were in shaky transit from the status of Lower Middler to Upper Middler, and were not old enough to go to war. (Knowles, 7. ) Because of their playful behavior and their age, the boys lived a separate peace, away from rules, the rest of the world, and the war.
At the termination of the Summer Session, Gene commented that peace had deserted Devon. (Knowles, 64. ) Another example of how a separate peace had existed at Devon was Phineas. On page 195, Gene comments on how nothing had broken [Finny s] harmonious and natural unity. Knowles, 195. ) The one way in which Finny achieved and maintained his state of harmony was denial. The most evident example was his response to the war. His view was that there isn t any war, and the whole situation was invented by fat old men in attempt to keep the kids in line.
His reaction was caused by the fact that he happened to be injured, and unable to participate. Finny s way in establishing a separate peace for himself was in complete denial of the situation. Another evident example of creating a state of denial was his relationship with Gene. On page 62, Gene confesses to Finny that he deliberately ounced the limb so [he] would fall off, and Finny responds, of course you didn t. (Knowles, 62. ) It was possible that he knew the truth about Gene, considering he had feelings about what had happened.
He confesses these feelings to Gene, and quickly dismisses them, and even apologizes for having them in the first place, which shows that he observed Gene s true evil and forced himself to deny it. (Knowles, 58. ) This denial helped Finny find peace within himself, and to be at peace with Gene. The last example of a separate peace was that which Gene found within himself. He had always had trouble finding his true character, nd he helped himself do so by somewhat becoming a part of Phineas. On page 54, Gene decides to put on Finny s clothes, for no apparent reason.
He looks in the mirror and realizes that he was Phineas, Phineas to the life. (Knowles, 54. ) At his new realization of character, Gene says that he would never stumble through the confusions of [his] own character again. (Knowles, 54. ) After Finny s accident, Dr. Stanpole tells Gene that Phineas would never be able to play sports again. Gene decides he wanted no more of sports, as though when Dr. Stanpole said Sports are finished he had been speaking of [Gene]. Knowles, 76. ) In this way, Gene felt he was a part of Phineas, and at peace with himself.
When Finny dies, Gene did not cry then or ever about him. He felt as if he had died himself. (Knowles, 186. ) This shows how Gene had found his true self and was at peace by becoming a part of Finny. In conclusion, there were several forms of separate peace that existed at Devon, the most significant being that of the Summer Session, and that which Gene and Finny established for themselves. In all forms of peace, a world had been created apart from that of trouble, misunderstanding of character, reality, and war.