Theme: A Separate Peace

Theme: A Separate Peace
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  • The theme of A Separate Peace is Search for Identity
  • When Gene talks to Finny on the phone is an example of the search for identity
  • "'Listen, pal, if I can't play sports, you're going to play them for me,' and I lost part of myself to him then, and a soaring sense of freedom revealed that this must have been my purpose from the first: to become a part of Phineas."
  • This is a search for identity because Gene believes it is better to be Finny than himself. He became excited about being 'part' of Finny.
  • The next scene takes place at Finny's funeral. This quite obviously fits the theme.
  • This shows that Gene believed some of him died with Finny. That he himself in some way is a part of him
  • "I could not escape a feeling that this was my own funeral, and you do not cry in that case."
  • The last example I am going to use is from Chapter 11 page 156 of A Separate Peace.
  • "Over my cot I had long ago taped pictures which together amounted to a bareface lie about my background-weepingly romantic views of plantation mansions, moss-hung trees by moonlight, lazy roads winding dustily past the cabins of the Negroes." - John Knowles
  • The first quote says that this is what Gene wants to be and what he wants people to see in him.
  • He continues, "But by now I no longer needed this vivid false identity; now I was acquiring, I felt, a sense of my own real authority and worth, I had many new experiences and I was growing up."
  • The second shows that Gene has found a sense of identity. He feels he has worth and that now he has something to offer others.
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