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A Separate Peace by John Knowles. A novel of growing up during war times. Author John Knowles. Born in 1926 in West Virginia Best known works are set in New England. Knowles’ Childhood. Parents were originally from Massachusetts. Knowles spent many summer vacations there.

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a separate peace by john knowles

A Separate Peaceby John Knowles

A novel of growing up during war times.

author john knowles
Author John Knowles
  • Born in 1926 in West Virginia
  • Best known works are set in New England
knowles childhood
Knowles’ Childhood
  • Parents were originally from Massachusetts.
  • Knowles spent many summer vacations there.
  • At the age of fifteen, Knowles applied to an elite New Hampshire boarding school, Phillips Exeter Academy.
john knowles continued
John Knowles continued…
  • Knowles expresses his affections and fond memories for his boarding school memories in A Separate Peace.
  • Soon after Knowles entered Exeter, the U.S. declared war on Japan and entered World War II.
  • Knowles went into the military after he graduated from high school and trained to be a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Force Aviation Program.
  • When the war ended, he attended Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
a separate peace
A Separate Peace
  • The novel was first published in England in 1959 and in the U.S. in 1960.
  • It proved to be such a success that Knowles was able to resign from his job and devote his time to writing and travel.
  • He wrote many other novels, none as successful as A Separate Peace.
  • Today, he lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
  • Devon School in New Hampshire
  • The central story begins less than a year after December 7, 1941, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii.
  • World War II: September 1939 to September 1945.
  • Called the “World” war because a majority of the world’s nations split into one of two opposing sides:
    • Allies- included Russia, U.S.A, United Kingdom, and China.
    • Axis- included Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan
world war ii
World War II
  • The most devastating war in history.
  • Loss of human life estimated at 72 million.
  • Two-thirds of victims were civilians.
  • Holocaust victims numbered in the millions.
u s involvement
U.S. Involvement
  • The U.S. entered the World

War after Pearl Harbor.

  • Fear of war caused many Americans to turn a blind eye to the conflicts overseas.
  • Pearl Harbor changed everything.
  • 1940 brought the first peacetime draft in the nation’s history.
    • Men 21-35 years of age were required to register for military service.
    • Age then lowered to eighteen.
  • Many young men couldn’t wait to be drafted; patriotism was at an all-time high.
  • Teenagers often felt it was their duty to enlist.
patriotism and change
Patriotism and Change
  • The war brought changes to the American economy and lifestyle.
    • Need for weapons created jobs.
    • Americans attended rallies, bought war bonds, conserved fuel and rubber by car pooling, and planted “victory gardens.”
    • Society also began changing and adjusting due to the “man shortage”.
  • In short, American life, as it had been, changed “for the duration”- a phrase that meant “until the end of the war.”
  • Imagine going to high school while the deadliest and most devastating war in history was happening.
  • How would it affect you? Would your life be any different?
the war in iraq
The War in Iraq
  • How does the war in Iraq affect you?
  • Do the news stories and pictures affect your life or view of the world?
a separate peace plot
A Separate PeacePlot
  • War does not concern the majority of the plot.
    • Main characters are juniors.
    • They attend an elite private boarding school.
theme and motif
Theme and Motif
  • Theme: a broad idea in a story, or a message or lesson conveyed by a work
    • A work can have more than one theme.
  • Motif: a reoccurring subject, theme, or idea in a literary, artistic, or musical work.
  • Difference between theme and motif:
    • Theme are ideas explored by the text.
    • Motifs are reoccurring elements that represent ideas.
themes motifs in a separate peace
Themes & Motifs in A Separate Peace
  • Themes
    • Identity- The development of self in the face of peer pressure.
    • Man vs. Self- Even in times of war, the most difficult battle is within the human heart.
  • Motifs-
    • Transformation- the characters and the school undergo immense changes throughout the story.
    • Competition- the competitive nature of athletics and of friendship.