Perfect Page 2: A Separate Peace

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Perfect Page 2: A Separate Peace

Post  djester on Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:42 pm

Please post your perfect pages here by replying to this topic!

Thanks

Mr. J

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Perfect page two

Post  Moia L. on Sat Oct 20, 2012 3:08 pm

A Separate Peace
When given a book to read, I always try to finish it. Every English teacher deserves that effort from every student and if the student doesn't give that effort that’s very disrespectful. This being said, I did try to read A Separate Peace and I did finish most of it. I can’t honestly say it was easy to read. I like books that have meaning and are not overwhelmed with description. I couldn't find a hidden moral in A Separate Peace, maybe not to be overly jealous of your best friend? So reading it was a challenge, and I accepted that it was. While reading it I thought long and hard about just giving up, but I knew I wouldn't gain anything from giving up. I continued to read, most of the time it’d end in a horrid head ache but by that point I was determined to finish that book. I couldn't let a book make a fool out of me. I wanted to prove, mostly to myself, that I could finish this book. I hate leaving a book partly read, it feels like leaving a delicious chocolate cake partly ate. That should be against to law. As I approached the end of the book, I realized I didn't want to finish it anymore. I could tell I only have a chapter or two left, I was almost scared to finish it. Like I didn't want to see or read the ending. I knew I would be disappointed with the ending, I always am. I want the ending to be different in every book I read, so I’m always let down. As of right now, I have not finished A Separate Peace. I have a strong feeling that I will finish it sometime in the near future, but I’m having too much fun reading Into the Wild to go back to reading A Separate Peace. I feel ashamed to say I haven’t reached the ending yet, like I let down my English teacher and for that I am sorry. I think this has been a learning experience for me. You can’t force yourself to read a book and learn from it. You can read it and pass the test but then there wasn't really a point in reading the book. Books, to me are meant to teach to reader something and if they don’t it’s not the right book for the person. I really wish A Separate Peace was the right book for me, but for now it’s a piece of chocolate cake staring at me until I finish it.

Moia L.
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Re: Perfect Page 2: A Separate Peace

Post  jordan-p on Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:47 pm

Perfect page
Jordan Poe
10/20/12
English

We have just finished reading the book A Separate Peace in my English class had similar ideas and feelings about the book. They thought that the book was semi-well written and touched upon a good topic with seeing the Vietnam war through the younger generations’ eyes but it was also way too descriptive and seemed to just never stop explaining things. The book seemed to just bore almost everyone in the class. There were no exciting moments in the book. We talked about how people said that the book was a masterpiece, and we all agreed that it was not on that level. I think we read the book so we could see where we are intellectually, and have an idea on what kind of book we are going to read and depths the books will have will have. Everyone I talked to said the book was really boring and they had to push themselves mentally to finish the book. I know from experience that when a book is dry and unexciting that it is a real challenge to finish the book. The only reason I really gave the book an extra chance to get better was because it was for school, and if I was reading this out of school I doubt I would be able to finish it. I really just skimmed over everything and tried to grasp onto the important parts. I really feel reading the book was a waste time; most of the books content I can't remember because it put me to sleep literally. The book, as I said before touched on some good topics about seeing the war through the eyes of the younger boys and the idea of jealousy driving some people to the point of hurting their best friends. The two friends Phineas and Gene came up with this crazy idea that the whole war was made up, in a big scheme for the guys on top to get more things and keep it that way. But the other guys throughout the book really knew what was going on with all the fighting. Also, the idea of jealousy turning you against your friends is a very interesting topic because it can happen to any of us. Because everyone has that one person who they are jealous of and want to have/do what they have/do. I think we read the book so that we can see what kind of books we are going to get into this year. The depth in this book was more interesting the the actual story was. So it was really a warm up to get us ready for later this year when we dive into more intense and better books. Overall the book was a let down. after we read Part Time Indian I was really excited for the next book. Part Time Indian really stuck with me. I still remember most of the book. But with A Separate Peace the only thing that i remember about it was Phineas fell out of a tree because his best friend got jealous of him and pushed him out.


jordan-p
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Perfect Page 2

Post  Sarah A. on Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:51 pm

In this perfect page I’m going to be completely honest and say I did not read A Separate Peace. I didn’t read A Separate Peace because because I found it boring, hard to understand, and I didn’t have enough time. I still wouldn’t have read it if I had more time because it was hard to keep up with. I do feel kind of bad because I didn’t read it, but not enough to read it. Usually I do read books for school, but not always.
The bit of the book that I read moved very slowly and nothing was really going on. I read up to chapter two and then I skimmed to page one hundred and ten. I sort of figured out the main ideas from other people, but there weren’t that many which means not a lot happened, in my mind. Books are a lot easier to read when they’re more interesting,
A Separate Peace was very hard to understand. I found myself re-reading the same sentences over and over again. For example, on page 60 “With unthinking sureness I moved out onto the limb and jumped into the river, every trace of my fear of this forgotten.” John Knowles could have said that in a much less complex way and it would have made more sense. Then I wouldn’t be confused if he had just made sentences easier to understand, this book would be a lot better.
With other things going on, like other homework, I didn’t have enough time to read. I’d love to read more, but I just don’t have that kind of time. Reading takes longer than writing something and turning it in the next. Plus taking notes, I just do not have the time. Sometimes Monday reading days help but not a lot. If I had less homework, I would have time to read this book, but I would probably use that time to sleep.
If I had the opportunity to read this book again I wouldn’t. This book was just not my cup of tea. Reading books in school just kind of takes the fun out of reading because we are required to do so many things while we read. Which makes it less enjoyable than reading on your own, which I don't have time for either.

Sarah A.
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Perfect Page

Post  Caleb S. on Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:54 pm

I started out reading A Separate Peace but never finished. It wasn’t because I didn’t like the book it was because I didn’t have time to read the book. I was in chapter four when it came time for our quiz which was through page 102. I enjoyed the book from when I started to where I read last. School is getting harder and with the activities that are taking place doesn’t give me enough time to read. This book wasn’t easy to read and follow. I have short attention spans therefore sometimes I had to go back over what I had read it again to understand what had happened. For A Separate Peace we had to take notes. This made me have to pause while reading, write something down, and continue reading. This was a good choice of book to read but I would have wanted to have a group discussion about the book. This probably would have let me hear more about the book and help me do better with reading. I have activities taking place, and other homework and assignments. When we have assignments that are due the next day I tend to complete those much faster than I would if I had an assignment that wouldn’t be graded, and not needed until a few weeks later. Soccer is one of my most important priorities, and it takes up much of my time. I play for school, and we have practices at around 6:00. I have to go home, eat, and leave to go to practice. I live in Durham, and it is a far drive. I didn’t think to bring the book with me, and when I did I did not read that many pages. I don’t get back home until 7:40 at the earliest, and that is when I do all of my homework. By then I am warn out and just want to sleep and I do not even consider reading. This is the same for home games except I get home earlier and do not leave school. On away games I usually sleep on the drive out and it would be too loud to try to focus on reading. I play club soccer for Triangle Football Club and we practice on the weekend which takes more time out of my day. I also do this clinic called USA Goalkeeper Academy on Sundays. I have to drive all the way out to Raleigh for that.I do not have my priorities right when it comes to school. I spend time doing things that are not important instead of concentrating more on my school work. I spend time texting, watching television, and playing video games. English Premier League soccer, which is my favorite type of soccer, comes on, on the weekends. I spend my mornings watching that.I am not used to having to do work because at my old school it was easy and we could get away without reading the books. We just received worksheets and the quiz was based off the worksheet. For the worksheets all we had to do was look the questions up online instead of reading the book. The work is also much harder at Woods and it takes more effort.

Caleb S.
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A Separate Peace: "A masterpiece?"

Post  Kathy N. on Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:50 pm


Is A Separate Peace as The National Review claims on the book cover “A masterpiece”? This book is quite a journey. While the journey is a great depiction of how to push through books you might not find intriguing, to get the feelings and experience of reading the book. It also provides a good example of a not so typical style of book. A Separate Peace could be considered a masterpiece because it gives examples of real life situations, and is well written, however it is overly descriptive and while it might be well written the way its written is not interesting.
The writing might not be interesting, but the situations in the book are. These real situations are things people, especially younger readers, can relate too. It offers scenarios where people might feel scared or jealous, which people encounter every day. These high school students are living a normal life other than the fact that they go to a boarding school. People are more likely to like or appreciate a book if there are aspects of the book to where they can relate.
Another reason people might either read or appreciate a book more is for the way it’s written. While this book is extremely well written, the way the author writes is not so interesting. This author is obviously well educated and can write sentences and paragraphs thoughtfully. The problem comes to the point where the sentences might be well written but there is no hook or grasp in the sentence to make the reader want to keep reading. It’s hard to read a book that doesn’t keep you intrigued all the time. Moreover, I appreciate how the author put a great amount of thought into the writing of this book, however I lose interest quickly.
Younger readers interest gets lost even faster with the fact that the book is also overly descriptive. Every book should have description, and every book needs description, but there needs to be a balance and in A Separate Peace there is none. When there is too much description the essence of imagination is lost. In most books when an author uses description it’s very precisely used so that the element of imagination can be factored into the readers mind. With over description authors tell exactly what things look or sound or taste like and the element of imagination is lost. When imagination is lost readers tend to lose interest because people like to imagine what situations would look or feel like and without that people don’t have anything to think about.
In some ways A Separate Peace could be considered “A masterpiece.” The author contributed real life situations to the book so readers could relate to it. The book is also extremely well written, it uses a high level of vocabulary and the sentences and paragraphs are also precise and to the point. However, with no hooks in a sentence people tend to lose interest and end up not feeling the need to keep reading and when the element of imagination is lost because of over description there comes a time when people will just not read this book at all. In the end, I wouldn’t consider A Separate Peace “A masterpiece” as it says on the back cover.

By: Kathy Nowak

Kathy N.
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Did or Didn't?

Post  Jade O. on Sun Oct 21, 2012 12:03 pm

Did or Didn’t?
I did read A Separate Peace, mainly because it was required, or at least that is how I saw it. I see anything that is given work or optional work as necessary no matter what. I would not choose to read this book for fun. I was too bored and even though there were exciting parts there was too much description which made the action seem a bit tedious. I read A Separate Peace, because I dislike not doing school work. Also we have a test on all three books and I didn’t feel like failing.
I thought this book was well written and contained beautifully written sentences and description. Only there was too much detail at times in the book which I saw as unnecessary. Where there was too much description was boring because there was no end. For example on page 12 it was describing Devon as one of the most beautiful schools in New England but then continues on and on and doesn’t stop until almost the bottom of the page. I like short descriptions that are informative, yet rather abrupt. Another thing that I thought made the book more confusing is so much is happening and topics change too quickly. Add in the over description and you have a confusing, boring, hard to follow book. I thought this book was really good, but I personally did not think it was meant for me. It depends on who is reading the book and what kind of books or texts they like to read. I’ve heard from other people that they liked this book, maybe because they’re honors students and read Catcher in the Rye before A Separate Peace. I did not hate it, I can strongly say that. However, I can’t say it’s one of my top fifteen books. I believe this book had many topics that are exciting and I did find some of the events stimulating because they weren’t too descriptive. For example on page 60, when Phineas fell out of the tree, I was really excited and enjoyed that part of the book. Also, even though it was sad, when it was announced to Gene that Phineas had died, I was very intrigued by the book. The amount of detail made the book too predictable and I wasn’t left hanging or wanting more.
A Separate Peace didn’t have a good beginning in my opinion and I wasn’t hooked. That is part of what makes a good book, when you’re drawn in right from the beginning. That didn’t happen to me in this book and I was disappointed. I did read A Separate Peace but didn’t want to and it was a struggle to finish the book. Somehow I fought through it and finished it because I hate having unfinished work.

Jade O.
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A Seperate Peace Perect Page

Post  Tommy J. on Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:07 pm

The National Review claims that A Separate Peace by John Knowles is “a masterpiece” and I believe that this claim is one hundred percent true. I agree with The National Review for the following reasons, A Separate Peace is very deeply written, and John Knowles’ style of writing is both crafty and creative. This book is in my opinion the most creative masterpiece of literature ever written.
The first reason I believe A Separate Peace is a rightfully acclaimed masterpiece is because it is so deeply written, and by deep I mean that the book digs into the ordinary lives of boys at a private school, going deep within the darkest corners of their minds, exposing the darkness of envy and jealousy, the consequences of wars, and just how fragile the human body and mind can be. John Knowles cleverly hides these deep dark parts of the book, and allows them to spontaneously pop up in major parts, like when Leper Lepellier loses his mind, and when Phineas storms out of the room and breaks his leg again when Brinker is trying to expose Gene’s guiltiness. Another thing that makes the book so deep are all the little things that you have to catch on to, and all the different opinions the book allows you to form about people, conspiracies, and events. This book could be the deepest book ever written.
The next thing that makes A Separate Peace a masterpiece is that John Knowles’ style of writing is crafty and creative. In many ways, John Knowles is a master craftsman. Knowles’ sentences are so simple in the way they are worded and put together, yet so complex in their true meaning. A sentence that makes a good example of this would be the sentence at the end of Chapter 3. It says “Perhaps I was stopped by that level of feeling, deeper than thought, which contains the truth. There are not any difficult words, or strange punctuations, or anything that would make this sentence difficult to read. It’s a very understandable sentence, but a person could spend a lengthy amount of time just pondering this sentence in their head. It’s a good sentence to think about, it talks about a thing deeper than thought, deeper than emotion, deeper than Gene himself that keeps him from telling Phineas that he is his best friend. It would take pages to write down all the different ideas and theories someone could take away from this one sentence, and this sentence is only one of many that show John Knowles’ craftsmanship and creativity. Just think of all the time and thought John Knowles put into creating this masterpiece. He built every sentence one by one until he had the greatest book he could have possibly written.
In conclusion, A Separate Peace is a masterpiece in many ways, tons more ways than just the two I talked about. The National Review did not need to make a long drawn out review, because the word masterpiece sums up the book in countless ways. The two main components of this masterpiece that I took away where how deep the book goes into the minds of its main protagonists, and the unique craftsmanship John Knowles used to structure each and every one of his sentences throughout this magnificent novel that is A Separate Peace. This book goes in places where no book targeted towards adolescents ever goes, and John Knowles appears as a literary genius through his writing, and nothing else needs to be said about the masterpiece that is A Separate Peace.


Tommy J.
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Perfect Page 2

Post  Dan H. on Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:37 pm

A Separate Peace was written by John Knowles in 1959. The National Review claims this book to be “a masterpiece.” I strongly disagree because the book lacks content, is confusing in some areas, and ends as a cliff-hanger. When I saw the reviews for the book about “an ordinary incident between two boys that ends by being as deep and as big as evil itself,” (Aubrey Menen) I expected more from the book than what I actually got out of it.
One main issue with the book, A Separate Peace, is that it lacks any actual plot. There are not very many significant events in the book; most of what is written in the book is either descriptions, or common things that the characters do, such as which classes Gene goes to at what times. “At 12 I left the First Building, recrossed the Common and went into the Jared Potter Building for lunch. It was a breaded veal cutlet, spinach, mashed potatoes, and prune whip. At the table we discussed whether there was any saltpeter in the mashed potatoes.” (Knowles, 192) The only plot in this book is that a boy fell out of a tree and died. It seemed as though John Knowles went back and added in the details to try to break two hundred pages. In the end, the book was filled with details of things that don’t contribute much to the story.
Certain portions of the book go into too much detail on events not related to the central plot. A story does need to explain a lot of things and needs a lot of detail to be considered a masterpiece. But A Separate Peace uses so much figurative language that I frequently found myself having to reread a section four to five times just to understand what it meant. For instance: “You felt that an argument might begin again at any time; in fact it had: out of the Dean’s Residence, a pure and authentic Colonial house, there now sprouted an ell with a big bare picture window.” (Knowles, 12) Sometimes I felt like I was reading a book that was written in a foreign language.
Even after finding my way through the excessive detail and the hidden plot, I wasn’t satisfied with the way the story ended. The story ended with the main character, Gene, and all of his friends going off to fight in the war. Since there were so many other details before, I was surprised to see the whole story get dropped as Gene left Devon. I was also horrified by the way that Gene had meant to make his best friend, Phineas, fall off the tree, break his leg and eventually die. As Gene clearly states, “My war ended before I ever put on a uniform; I was on active duty all my time at school; I killed my enemy there.” (Knowles, 204) These things caused this story to end poorly.
In conclusion, the novel A Separate Peace is not “a masterpiece,” as the National Review claims it to be. Very little actually occurs over the course of the book, the details and figurative language are very confusing, and the story does not end properly. A book that I would consider a masterpiece is a book that keeps me interested, is understandable, makes me want to keep reading, and ends in a way that sums up the whole book, such as The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. However, based on the previously listed criteria, A Separate Peace is not a masterpiece.

Dan H.
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ASP perfect page

Post  Alex B on Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:43 pm

Alexandria Blake
English
Jester
10-18-12
A Separate Peace-Perfect Page
Period 6

Is a Separate Peace as the National Review claims “A Masterpiece?”

A Separate Peace is a “Masterpiece“, the National Review claims. A Separate Peace descries two boys adventure at their prep school in New Hampshire. This book is truly a masterpiece because it is filled with many descriptive settings, it is well thought out, and very thought provoking.
The statement created by the National Review about A Separate Peace is completely true. The book is a masterpiece filled with great details. The author provides a very detailed description thought out the entire piece. Therefore it allows the reader to become more involved and attached to the story which enables them to really experience the story as if they were with the characters themselves.
A Separate Peace is a superiority thought out piece of literature. Since the book is so beautifully written and thought though then the story line really draws in the reader and gets their attention. Since A Separate Peace is set during the World War II time frame then the story portrays how hard peoples life’s were in 1942. The storyline has the boys using any resource they can find to entertain themselves. This time period was when all children spent all of their time outdoors. They would find ordinary objects and find ways to make them more creative and entertaining to themselves. John Knowles, the author, uses such brilliant descriptions to describe the time period that he creates imagery causing you to picture the characters in your mind coming to life.
A Separate Peace is a very thought provoking novel. The story narrates one of the main characters life and describes how it came to a dramatic ending. By the way the author chose to write the book makes the reader put their own life in prospective. It shows how one split decision can change many peoples life dramatically and forever. In this book that one decision was when Gene decided he had become annoyed with Finny and caused him to fall from the tree. Therefore causing Finny to break his leg. This one action Gene did caused Finny to never be able to live a normal life or take part in any sport activities. At the end of the book this action caused Finny to have his life taken away from him. The one moment when Gene caused Finny to fall changed his own life and everyone else’s around him. This will always be Gene’s biggest regret and burden to live with.
This well written and descriptive novel was a joy to read. It takes the reader back to a time period that is much different than modern times. It allows the audience to have an emotional attachment to the characters, which makes them feel companionate to both characters though out the read. The Nationals Review called A Separate Peace a “masterpiece” had the correct analysis on the book describing Gene and Finny’s adventure at their prep school, Devon.

Alex B
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A Separate Peace: did or did not?

Post  Lia K. on Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:15 pm

Okay I will confess. I did read A Separate Peace, but I just didn't finish it. I found it very boring. I tried to read it, I really did. But theres just no action! I found it hard to stay tuned and pay attention. And if a teacher finds it boring, then the students are going to find it boring as well! Well thats what I think anyways. Another thing is the title. To me the title is not very catching. It doesn’t stand out. its not a title that screams “READ ME!” If you want my opinion, I would read a book that has a catchy title. Thats one of the second most important thing I look for in a book. The first is an interesting and grabbing summary. I feel like the only reason i read this book is because I knew we were going to have a test and a discussion on this book and I didn't want to fail.The only rising action where I was actually interested was when Finney fell out of the tree. That was the only part that really hooked me. But after that I just couldn't read it anymore. I lost interest too quickly. The paragraphs just went on an on and half the time it seemed to me that it was just random. It was almost like the author got so bored with writing it, that he got completely distracted, and started talking about whatever! So if you ask me the only reason to make someone read this book is to see how fast people can can get bored with a book. I'm sorry to say but I was really not impressed with the way this book was written. I don’t really think anybody was.And the book just didn't stay on topic. Like I said it was too random and confusing, and it kept switching around and not staying focused. Its like the book had ADHD or something. And for those who are not really good readers or prefer books with more action, this is a terrible, terrible book! This book may have been “well written” as some people said but it just had too much in one paragraph. It seemed like the paragraphs went on for like 2 pages because you would read but end up not paying attention to what I was reading so it just felt like they took too much time to read just one paragraph. So yes I read it.... just not all of it, and the parts that I did read I kept getting bored and zoning out. SORRY MR.JESTER!

Lia K.
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Perfect Page #2: Aubrey Menan's claim

Post  Dash W. on Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:31 pm

While I would be very willing to agree with Aubrey Menan’s comment on the book that incorporates a mix of both high praise and a powerful emotion filled description of the plot, it is difficult to agree due to a few small points that I feel misinterpret the book as a whole. The first of these is her remark that the book begins with a tiny incident among ordinary boys. This statement while non eluding and vague enough to display on the front cover without giving away any major plot points I feel becomes a void point that while seemingly true initially is later discovered to be false.
As the story begins the characters seem two dimensional almost generic at times. Gene is usually seen as just a spectator of Finny’s grand schemes and plots. Finny is introduced as an almost flawless human in social aspects and so strongly so that it almost means his weaker educational traits become irrelevant. At this point Aubrey’s remark still remains true they seem to just be acting like we expect them to at every turn until a drastic change early on in the book. This comes even before “a tiny incident” when Gene shows a side of himself that completely catches the audience off guard.
This is when he begins to have abnormally suspicious, or even paranoid, thoughts about Finny. He goes from a spectator to a soldier in some mental war that is developed very quickly. Immediately from this point on Gene’s character becomes internally conflicted, indecisive, paranoid, and even unfeeling at times, but not by any means ordinary. Even when an air of denial is still present and the reader is being forced to try and decide whether Gene feels remorse and is buried in his own feelings, or just doesn’t care, the reader is aware that either way his actions stretched beyond those of a “ordinary rivalry” and into something powerful enough to turn paranoid assumptions into full blown physical attacks.
For this reason I think that despite it being possible for the reader to still be convinced that Gene is in denial for a large part of the book by the end we realize that this was just our own method of trying to convince ourselves out of denial that Gene could be a compassionate being when truthfully he can be unnaturally cold and heartless. Because of this I think the final section of Aubrey’s statement which reads “it ends by being as deep and as big as evil itself” is a more accurate quote for the entirety of underlying possibilities of Gene’s true nature after we have discovered his paranoid tendencies and how far they can take him to even make someone fall out of a tree, which, occur much before the end of the book.
The reason these points are so important, is that they relate to the most powerful aspect of the book which is the inward reflection it forces you to make after uncovering how deep rooted the source of Gene’s hatred for Finny truly lies. Feeling remorse for a character that has done no wrong, while the protagonist does not, makes a situation where you have to consider your own values against Gene’s and try to delve deeper to discover why Gene feels hatred for someone that at the worst could be a target of envy. Once you are able to make this reflection that Gene could retort to physical violence for something as petty as envy, it creates a completely new environment for the book and every action that Gene takes from that point on can be seen as an act of war. This is because the reader is now able to see through Gene’s eyes and discover that within every action he would make and had made before the incident could be tied to how inherently indifferent to remorse he is as a character.
Because of these reasons, despite being in conflict with Aubrey’s statement, they make her initial reaction that the book is “the best-written best-designed, and most moving novel I have read in many years.” That much more relatable and true despite it possibly being for the wrong reasons in Aubrey’s case.

Dash W.
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A masterpiece?...

Post  Camden G on Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:40 pm

A Separate Peace is a novel written by John Knowles about a teen age boy named Gene and his best friend Phineas. The story and its events take place primarily at a New England boarding school called Devon. The main story is about the trials and troubles Gene and Phineas as they are approaching the age in which they can join the latter years of World War Two. The story is told in a first person narrative from Gene’s prospective. According to The National Review the book is “A masterpiece”. I on the other hand beg to differ.
The whole book is absolutely horrid. The entire first chapter is nothing but a description of Devon and the town around it. Most books have something in the first chapter that acts as a hook that catches your attention and interest which makes you want to continue to read. A Separate Peace horribly lacked anything that remotely would act as a hook.
The author choose to write from the view of a character that was mildly insane, borderline psychotic. If this were a written form of an Alfred Hitchcock film then it might have been okay. But it wasn't. There was no building to any form of a climax like in just about every other book on the planet.
I would like to pose a question for you (the reader) to consider: why would you want to read a book like this? There is no real point in reading it. It offers no literary values or practical moral insights. To condense what I just said, the book is purely a way to waste a massive amount of time.
Is it a great way to get into the head of a crazy guy who tries to kill his best friend? Sure. However unless there is some interesting point to the whole story that lets it build until the point that Gene pushes Phineas out of the tree, then its rubbish. The single thing that I believe killed what little hope of an interesting story line is the fact that the only “good” part is in the first couple of chapters. The rest of the book is merely Gene’s accounts of what happened after Phineas fell out of the tree. Had the story been formatted so that it started with Phineas’ death and then worked back words, it could have had a chance to not be quite as horrid.
What most people understand of this story is purely the fact that it stinks. While I will not agree with those who say it is good, I will also say that it is not the worst thing that I have ever read in my life. It is defiantly not a master piece nor is it overly well written. I do think however that it offers a usually unseen element to life for young men during the Second World War.
In conclusion, I do not agree with The National Review in saying that it is a masterpiece or as others say well written. I will consent to the fact that it does have some usually unseen elements for World War Two life. The main characters are not overly interesting or captivating. The extreme over use of descriptive facts is worse than in Tom Clancy’s novels. I feel that if John Knowles were to have written in a more enticing and intriguing manner that he would have probably had a fairly decent book. But, he did not. To anyone who is about to read this book I would just say: save yourself the trouble and if you can, choose another book to read. As a final thought, think about this next time you are about to read a new book: are you prepared to put the effort into something that others say is awful?

Camden G
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A Separate Peace Perfect Page

Post  olivia h on Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:09 pm

On the back of the book The National Review claims that this book is a masterpiece, some might agree some might not agree. This book A Separate Peace by John Knowles is a insightful, descriptive book telling the relationship between two best friends Gene and Phineas as they go through school during WWII. There may be some stories similar to this one, but none quite like this. Their adventures of The Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session and Finny’s accident really did pull their relationship a farther than it needed it to go. Their relationship in Phineas’ mind was going okay, thinking that Gene did not push him off the limb while jumping into the river like their ritual of the suicide society began with, after having a hunch and confronting Phineas about it phineas denied it and said it wasn't genes fault. As the book goes on about their relationship we find out that gene pushing phineas off the limb wasn't an accident, that he did it on purpose. It could've been out of anger, or jealousy because phineas was always more popular with the people than gene was, we don't know, but what we do know is that gene played innocent, and was very good at it.
One reason people might not of liked this book is because the amount of description it gives, at time it gives too much and at other times it gives too little making it really hard to focus on what's happening and why its happening. This book really makes you read it, not just skim through like some books would let you. You could find yourself re reading a passage many times just to understand the point of it being there, and some parts you just don't want to read because of the shortness of description.
One suggestion to the author is to keep the amount of description the same, it gets readers really bored quite easily. Oh, and another thing, the climax isn't really exciting or it doesn't really give the any exciting or thrilling moments to the book. Some people are really disappointed in the book and the events, the events were too predictable. You could probably of guessed that Phineas was pushed on purpose and that we has pushed down the stairs on purpose. It never really left the readers on a cliffhanger like they want it too.
Something that readers might of liked about the book was that it did give you some history and some events during WWII, it didn't just go on with the book, it incorporated the history and emotions in the book. That was what gave the book some interest to it. And the emotions during the events, were really interesting and that it was what happened during WWII and not just something the author though might of went through peoples heads during that time.
The readers disagree with the National Review that this book is “a masterpiece.” But they don't completely hate it, they do have some suggestions and some things that they did like about the book. So it wasn't a horrible book to all, some people probably loved it, but then their are some who didn't enjoy it as much as others. It was different from other books and that is another good thing with it, it wasn't the same old happy ending it switched it up a little. This book was not a masterpiece to many readers.

olivia h
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Wonderful book

Post  Mattison on Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:35 pm

The National Review says that A Separate Peace by John Knowles is “A masterpiece” and while i do agree that some parts of the book are quite masterful i would not go near as far as to say that the whole book is some absolute masterpiece. In my opinion there is far too much detail. It is just very excessive. Also the whole book is rather slow paced, set aside from a hand full of somewhat amusing pages. The whole book was just rather hard to read and i often found myself getting behind on it.

No matter how many bad things i may say about this book i can easily name a few nice things about it. One part i really liked is how developed the main characters became as the story went on. Nearing the end you could almost predict how they would react to the situations thrown at them. The down side to this though is defining the characters took up almost the whole book. Whole entire chapters seemed to focus on defining Gene and Gene alone.

Another nice thing i can say i liked was how they described the exciting parts. The excessive description actually worked itself in rather well because, while you were being intrigued by the exciting event going on you do not get bored by the listing and long description, rather it pulls you in more with a much better and clearer mental image of what is going on.

Now, the downside to all this detail that is oh-so worthy of the title “Masterpiece” Its far too excessive. This whole book has an overwhelming amount of detail. It seemed like every little bit of what something looked like or how something happened was dragged on so so long everything became boring. Something that would normally not be described at all as the object itself was more than enough was just overworked until it was painful to read.

This book is very slow paced, not in the good way. The good way is when even though it is slow there are enough interesting bits sprinkled in that it is okay. This book was just plain boring. Nothing much really happened except near the beginning and near the end. The middle was almost one hundred percent dragged on detail and average life of two rather uninteresting high school boys who occasionally get hurt or have a strange encounter with a friend. Though this is all rather normal for a book about, well not much other than two boys doing somewhat normal things. It would have been helpful if something a little more out of the ordinary happened in the middle of the book, sacrificing some of the normality of their lives for a little bit of decent entertainment for the reader.

With all these factors put together the entire book was very hard to read. While reading it all i really wanted to do was put it down and sleep, as that would have been far more entertaining. I’m really surprised i was even able to finish it, aside from those last five or so pages i couldn't bother to read. In the end i do not think that A Separate Peace by John Knowles is worthy of its “Masterpiece” claims by The National Review.

-Mattison Francis

Mattison
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Perfect Page II

Post  Jen P. on Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:38 pm

A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, takes place during World War II at New England boarding school. The main character, Gene becomes extremely envious of his athletic best friend, Phineas. Phineas, who seems to always get what he wants without even trying, guides through life, while Gene actually has to work hard to accomplish his goals. Then, when the two boys are high in a tree, Gene jounces a limb causing Phineas to fall. This causes Phineas to lose his athletic abilities, which is a big part of his life. Afterwards Gene tries to explain that it was his fault that Phineas fell out of the tree, but Phineas has a hard time believing that his best friend could ever do something like that. This book, even though painfully slow, I did read.
The main reason why I read A Separate Peace was because I had to, after all it is a school book and in order to do well on the quiz and the test, it is necessary to know everything from the plot to the quotes. I also hate starting books and then leaving them unfinished. Another reason I read the book, besides it being required, was because I felt like it was going to get better. I always try to be optimistic, so I thought that if I didn’t stop reading it, I might, at some point, start to like it. However, for most of the chapters, this was not the case. For the majority of the book I didn’t even want to continue reading, because the details were so plentiful, it was just too much, which made me feel like I wasn’t really getting anywhere. For example, if it took ten pages to tell of an event, eight of those pages would be detail.
There were however, a few instances that I did enjoy A Separate Peace. The first time I felt interested and actually wanting to read more was around page sixty, when Gene pushed phineas out of the tree. This I felt, was the most exciting part of the book. I also enjoyed the chapter before that incident, because I liked seeing how Gene was perceiving everything, and how he came to the conclusion that Phineas was out to get him. Even though it was strange having to accept his somewhat crazy views, it was entertaining. Another chapter I moderately liked was chapter eleven, I feel that it is the most important part. This is where you really see how Gene feels about Phineas’s injury being his fault. He seems very worried that his friends will find out that it was him, so he pretends to have forgotten what had exactly happened. When he is asked where he was when Phineas was climbing the tree, he claims that he thinks he was on the ground, but when in reality he just did not want to admit that it was even possible for him to cause Phineas to lose his balance. Then, when they bring in Leper Lepellier to explain exactly what he saw, it is proved that it was definitely Gene who caused Phineas to fall out of the tree. This resulted in Phineas to get extremely upset, because he had been trying to deny that it was Gene’s fault, and he didn’t just trip or slip. It makes him so upset that he completely loses his ability to walk or stand right as he goes down a flight of stairs, which causes him to fall and break his leg again.
I would have to say that my least favorite part of the book would have to be all of the chapters that Phineas is not in, mainly because nothing really happens. In these parts, there was so much detail, it was like the author was struggling to write. The only thing that I learned during these parts was that Gene was so jealous of Phineas that wanted to become him, and now that he was gone, he could.
Overall, I didn’t like the book. It’s endless detail and slow plot nearly led me to not finish it. The only reason I finished it was because, one, it was required, and two, I really thought it would get better. I am sure that there are people who enjoy this kind of writing, but it was not for me.

-Jennifer Peluso

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Perfect Page II (I made a few more edits)

Post  Jen P. on Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:50 pm

A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, takes place during World War II at an New England boarding school. The main character, Gene becomes extremely envious of his athletic best friend, Phineas. Phineas, who seems to always get what he wants without even trying, glides through life, while Gene actually has to work hard to accomplish his goals. Then, when the two boys are high in a tree, Gene jounces a limb causing Phineas to fall. This causes Phineas to lose his athletic abilities, which is a big part of his life. Afterwards Gene tries to explain that it was his fault that Phineas fell out of the tree, but Phineas has a hard time believing that his best friend could ever do something like that. This book, even though painfully slow, I did read.
The main reason why I read A Separate Peace was because I had to, after all it is a school book and in order to do well on the quiz and the test, it is necessary to know everything from the plot to the quotes. I also hate starting books and then leaving them unfinished. Another reason I read the book, besides it being required, was because I felt like it was going to get better. I always try to be optimistic, so I thought that if I didn’t stop reading it, I might, at some point, start to like it. However, for most of the chapters, this was not the case. For the majority of the book I didn’t even want to continue reading, because the details were so plentiful, it was just too much, which made me feel like I wasn’t really getting anywhere. For example, if it took ten pages to tell of an event, eight of those pages would be detail.
There were however, a few instances that I did enjoy A Separate Peace. The first time I felt interested and actually wanting to read more was around page sixty, when Gene pushed phineas out of the tree. This I felt, was the most exciting part of the book. I also enjoyed the chapter before that incident, because I liked seeing how Gene was perceiving everything, and how he came to the conclusion that Phineas was out to get him. Even though it was strange having to accept his somewhat crazy views, it was entertaining. Another chapter I moderately liked was chapter eleven, I feel that it is the most important chapter. This is where you really see how Gene feels about Phineas’s injury being his fault. He seems very worried that his friends will find out that it was him, so he pretends to have forgotten what had exactly happened. When he is asked where he was when Phineas was climbing the tree, he claims that he thinks he was on the ground, but when in reality he just did not want to admit that it was even a possibility that he caused Phineas to lose his balance. Then, when they bring in Leper Lepellier to explain exactly what he saw, it is proved that it was definitely Gene who caused Phineas to fall out of the tree. This resulted in Phineas to get extremely upset, because he had been trying to deny that it was Gene’s fault, and he didn’t just trip or slip. It makes him so upset that he completely loses his ability to walk or stand right as he goes down a flight of stairs, which causes him to fall and break his leg again.
I would have to say that my least favorite part of the book would have to be all of the chapters that Phineas is not in, mainly because nothing really happens. In these parts, there was so much detail, it was like the author was struggling to write. The only thing that I learned during these parts was that Gene was so jealous of Phineas that wanted to become him, and now that he was gone, he could.
Overall, I didn’t like the book. It’s endless detail and slow plot nearly led me to not finish it. The only reason I finished it was because, one, it was required, and two, I really thought it would get better. I am sure that there are people who enjoy this kind of writing, but it was not for me.

-Jennifer Peluso

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Perfect Page#2

Post  Dylan M on Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:25 pm

During the first trimester in English we read A Separate Peace, by John Knowles. I read the first 105 pages of A Separate Peace and the last 2 chapters. I did not read the entire book because it was dull, boring and much too easy to predict what would happen later in the book. I read what I read and I listened to the conversations in class and got a better feel for the book. I knew from the beginning that Phineas was going to die. I also predicted that Gene was going to join the military. I knew that deep down Gene was jealous of Phineas and that Gene was going to do something big that he could never take back. This book was hard to follow because of all the high level old English vocabulary and crazy and unrealistic moments in their lives that would never happen to anyone now in the real world.

I had to use context clues just to know what was going on in the scene I was reading. I only took notes on the first 4 chapters because there was nothing I was ever going to use or need to know in the future. This book didn’t really teach me anything. It had no real life lesson or anything I could relate to. I’ve never been in the situations the characters here were in, and I can’t imagine how I would have felt during these situations. This book overall was horrible, there was no intense scenes that really made me think. There was no humor, no relativity to how teenagers live today. Phineas was the total opposite of his best friend Gene who was creepy in the sense that all he talked about was Phineas and it seemed that Phineas didn’t talk that way about Gene. Both Gene and Phineas are too far apart in their thinking and actions. It does not make sense that they were best friends, as they had nothing in common. Reading about their lives, it seemed to me that they should have been characters in two different books. There is nothing I truly liked about this book other than Leper and how he was so out of place that it was humorous.

This book takes place during World World II and it doesn’t even talk about this world changing event other than the draft. The book was all over the place with stupid scenes and creating new games. The swimming pool incident was truly pointless and gave me no feel for the characters. All it did was show how great of an athlete Phineas was and how Gene adored him for it. At times, I needed to put the book down and just take a moment to try to figure out what had just happened, as it was too hard to follow. One moment they were at a dinner with the headmaster, and the next scene they're jumping off a tree into a river on Devon’s campus. Devon was also hard to follow. I never truly knew if Phineas and Gene were seniors or not and I also couldn’t picture the school no matter how hard I tried.

I would never recommend A Separate Peace to anyone because it was barely readable and so outdated. Unless you enjoy corny, outdated stories that are impossible to follow, you will probably not enjoy it either.

Dylan M
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Separate peace post 2

Post  conor w on Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:42 pm

Conor Ward 10/22/12
English, Mr. Jester perfect page 2

When I first started reading a Separate Peace the story line seemed like it could go somewhere good. Then as I read more nothing seemed to happen, the book was a basic story of a boy and his own problems. So when I hear a writer say that this is best book he has ever read and the ending is amazing, I cant help but disagree.
This is because first, other than Pheneas breaking his bones and dying in the end nothing happens. For instance while I was reading it had no factual importance and it was not an enjoyable read all it did was put me to sleep. So I see no argument that this is an amazing book when in the end I get nothing out of the experience. Most of the book is this troubled boy worrying that that his best friend is plotting against him to ruin his grades preventing him from being class victorian.
This is incredibly childish and honestly frustrating when he goes from tricking himself into believing that his best friend is plotting against him to thinking this is what made him push Pheneas off the tree. Then the worst part is he didn't even push him, he felt so guilty he used this almost as an escape instead of accepting Pheneas just fell. After finding out Pheneas had no intent of sabotaging his grades I think Gene almost felt it was his responsibility to be the reason Pheneas fell.
This is what made the book truly un appealing is that it was not interesting or informative. All it was was a book about a boy that had no idea what he was going to do with his life. Stuck at the edge of adolescence and adulthood and this book is about every little thing that was going through his mind when this tragic event happened to him. To he honest with you I don't care about his boring life it has nothing to teach me other than the fact that people are foolish.
This is what makes me wonder what makes it such a moving experience when the whole story of the book is blown away the second the perfect boy breaks his bones and will never play a sport again when that is what he lived for, to play sports. What I mean is this story line is just dramatic it doesn't feel real the reader cant connect to the story making it boring and just not a good book however it is written.

conor w
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perfect page

Post  Sadie C on Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:52 pm

Perfect page two
Sadie Cornette Cook
English, 6th period
For two days after I got it, A Separate Peace lay at the bottom of my backpack. It was such a skinny story, barely large enough to qualify as a novel, that it was able to scrunch unobtrusively below my other school stuff. Had I not run out of library books by Thursday afternoon, it may have lain there indefinitely. I yanked it out and smoothed the crumpled pages. It seemed like a nice read, a good way to avoid doing my homework. Not even bothering to get out of my desk chair I kicked my school stuff under my desk, and prepared to read. I studied the front, wondering at the soft almost dreamlike illustration and proudly printed praise in the left corner. I opened it and passed over more praise the title page, a dedication, another title, before, finally, the story
At first the book seemed lighthearted. I read with an easy speed not noticing all the details, just learning enough to keep the story interesting. By page thirty two, I started to get an uneasy feeling. Although light on the surface, I could almost see the darker depths to Gene's character. By then it was too late. I had already empathized with Gene and sensed similarities between him and me. Gene and I moved through the story. I tried to resist it, but was drawn into Gene’s world of carefully woven fictions. We almost believed that we didn’t force Finny out of a tree, that it was a tragic accident. Finny is athletic and popular and never seems to have regrets or doubts. Gene and I are academics and competitive. No matter what he does, I will see myself in him. Apprehensive, I read on faster and faster, knowing Gene would do something, but not knowing what.
A third of the way through, the story became the opposite of lighthearted. Gene had a dark brooding hatred of Finny, born of an imagined rivalry. Finny, innocent and happy was unaware and trusting. Still, while I wanted Phineas to know Gene's treachery, I understood Gene better than any other character. Confused and slightly upset, I pushed the thought away.
On page 60, the threatened moment arrived. Gene purposely jounces Finny off a tree branch. Gene and a part of myself remained in a twisted victory above his broken body. Stunned, I took in little of the next forty pages, except that Finny refused to believe Gene had anything to do with the fall that crippled him for life-in fact, he could not remember the fall at all. Gene's secret was safe for now, I was relieved.
It was growing darker, I turned on my light and continued reading, unable to stop. I didn’t pay any attention to the skirmishes of the other characters. The whole of my concentration was focused on whether or not Gene's terrible secret, and in someways my own, would be discovered. The second climax arrived, a trial put on by the other students in the dead of night to determine if Gene is guilty of Finny's crippling. This was Gene’s nightmare. All that he worked for, all he had been building, the almost lies, the friendships were crumbling. I was Gene. I could feel the denial in Gene's words, could sense his panic as he realized what the ultimate decision must be, and finally his relief when Finny falls and later dies.
I closed the book and again studied the cover. I am disturbed. I have witnessed an act of deep hatred, and its incredible repercussions, but I know how Gene came to do this and even how, if I were him, I may have done the same. Am I like Gene? Could I ever do what he did, or think like he does? Maybe I am, maybe we all are more like him than we would like to think. I put the book down and ignored it for the rest of the evening .


Sadie C
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Perfect Page

Post  David B. on Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:19 pm

English Perfect Page: A Separate Peace
David Berrian
10/22/12


While reading A Separate Peace, I experienced many deep moments. From Phineas breaking his leg by falling out of the tree (Knowles, 60), to Leper Lepellier going crazy (Knowles, 150). The author John Knowles left many striking moments for readers to think about and analyze. However, the most profound moment to me is at the very end when Gene is describing his time in the war. “I never killed anybody and I never developed an intense level of hatred for the enemy. Because my war ended before I ever put on a uniform; I was on active duty all my time at school; I killed my enemy there.” (Knowles, 204) This one quote changed my whole point of view on the book. Since Gene is the main character, the whole time I had sided with him. Anything he said or talked about I took as the truth. I knew that he was weird but, not so weird to the point of actually being evil. This one quote took me by complete surprise and I finally realized that Gene is a complete psychopath. I related to Gene because, early in the book everything he said made sense. He was jealous of the kid who got away with everything, and had everything Gene wanted (For example, Phineas’s athletic ability). Everyone in the world has experienced some type of jealousy, no matter what age or gender you are. Personally, my jealousy comes from basketball. In the past years I haven’t been the best basketball player and many of my teammates around me far surpassed my skill. However, instead of just staying jealous and not doing anything about it, I took my jealousy and used it as a motivation to improve my basketball skill. On the other hand, Gene let his jealousy fill up in a emotional jar. He keeps it bottled up to the point of being insane. He didn’t believe that he was insane and neither did I. It wasn’t until at the very end of the book when he called his best friend an “enemy” that I realized that this kid is a complete psychopath. After finishing the book, I looked over it and discovered lots of little things that showed Gene’s insanity and really revealed how crazy he was. For example, when Phineas falls out of the tree, it is all Gene’s fault because he jounced the limb. “Holding firmly to the trunk, I took a step toward him, and then my knees bent and I jounced the limb.” (Knowles, 59). When rereading this passage I acknowledged that Gene had actually jounced the limb. I was completely astounded that I had missed that. In addition, it left me dumbfounded with many questions. How could such a young person do such a horrible thing to another human being? How could Gene allow himself to take all of which Phineas loved and push it out of a tree? Shattering it into a million, little, unfixable pieces. This betrayal to me is unimaginable. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be in Phineas’s shoes. To trust someone wholeheartedly and then have them stab you in the back is sickening. This makes Phineas’s death all the more depressing. The explanation for his death is that the bone marrow traveled to his heart and caused it to stop. However, I believe that Phineas’s death is more than just medical. His mind was in so much agony because of what Gene did that he decided to just give up. Realizing that all of this misery was caused because of one act of inner hatred, is what is the most profound moment to me. That your best friend can easily turn into your worst enemy.

David B.
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perfect page

Post  jbeeson on Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:07 pm

English I
10/21/12
John Beeson

Is A Separate Peace by John Knowels a masterpiece? Some may say yes, and some may say no. Most of A Separate Peace was about the relationship between two young boys named Phineas (Finny) and Gene, and how Gene dealt with the guilt of breaking his friend Phineas’s leg. In my opinion, A Separate Peace was a good book, but it was not a masterpiece. It was not a masterpiece because it was slow moving, there were not many events, and there was no plot beyond the relationship between the two friends.

A Separate Peace was one of the slowest moving books I have ever read. I would say, over half the book either talk about feelings, or it would give a lot of details on things that did not seem to matter to the story. Every time Gene or Phineas would walk through the school, Knowels would write half a chapter about what it was like outside or what they were seeing. It is good to have some details to help get a picture in your head of what the setting for the scene, but too much detail can just make people lose interest in what is going on. It was not just too much detail that helps contribute to why A Separate Peace is not a masterpiece, but it was also the way the details of events overshadowed the actual events in the book.

Throughout the whole book, probably every other chapter there would have an event of some kind. Because of this, there were only about six events, and only 3 of them were important to the story. The three events were, Finny breaking his leg; Brinker and his friend’s kidnapping Phineas and Gene to prove the Gene purposely made Phineas fall; and the death of Finny. When these events were the focus, it was a very enjoyable book to read. Unfortunately types of situations would not come up much because the author seemed to mainly focus on other details and how Gene would be feeling. Yes, the story was told by Gene in the future, but even if I were going to tell a story from the past, I would try to fit in more things that happened in my life and with my friends to help make the story really interesting. I would also make the plot and purpose of my story very clear.

While reading the book, I could never really figure out the plot. There was the plot about Gene breaking Finny’s leg by shaking him out of the tree, but nothing else. The rest of the book was just Gene feeling guilty, and their friends trying to prove that Gene purposely shook Finny out of the tree. At the end of the book he didn’t really help us know where he was on the whole issue. Gene just thought about what he did, and it seemed like he went from being really guilty through the whole book to rapidly changing to not really caring that much. It was not clear whether he was fighting his guilt, fighting Finny, or fighting some other enemy. The book ended without some of the clear explanations I would have liked.

The National Review claims that A Separate Peace is a masterpiece. I know many people would agree with this claim, but there are a few that would not agree. A Separate Peace is not a masterpiece because, it was slow moving, there were not many events, and there was no plot beyond Gene’s memory of what happened with Finny. Parts of this book were fun to read, and some of the events were intense, but that does not make A Separate Peace a masterpiece.

jbeeson
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Re: Perfect Page 2: A Separate Peace

Post  Kadin P on Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:10 pm

Kadin Peterman
Separate Peace Essay
10/22/12

A Separate Peace takes place in a boarding school in New Hampshire during the great turmoil of World War II. The protagonist is a boy named Gene Forrester who attends the Devon boarding school, with his good friends Phineas, Brinker, Leper, and others. Gene, feels that he is in the shadow of his best friend Phineas and is being held back. So to break free and declare his own independence he commits a horrendous act of purposely breaking Phineas’s leg by jouncing a tree branch he was on. Throughout the book Gene tries to keep his friendship with Phineas, discover aspects about his own personality, and gain independence from Phineas’ shadow. We read A Separate Peace by John Knowles in English class to learn about kids our age in another time period and to learn about John Knowles’ writing technique.
World War II really changed American life especially for the young generation of boys almost able to go to war. During this time all the boys at Devon had a pressure, if not a duty or a forced patriotism, to go directly into the war after high school. Devon dealt with donating part of its facilities and labor force to the military along with shortages of materials and rationing. This was important as it changed the fabric of normal everyday life. Some determined boys like Brinker continuously talked about the military and enlisting before their senior year was through, “He grabbed my arm agitatedly. ’I’m giving it up, I’m going to enlist. Tomorrow.’” (John Knowles, 100). Even with threats to enlist most people didn’t, except one. Leper was the only one to enlist which caught everyone by surprise, so people dismissed what actually happened. People joked about all he could be accomplishing but he in fact didn’t come close to any of it as he received a discharge for craziness. This showed us that the boys couldn’t take the world or the war seriously until they were in it, but once they were it wasn’t always easy to deal with. The importance of this is learning about the lives, decisions, and consequences boys our age were making during this time. It showed us the harsh ways of the time and how it could twist the minds of boys who couldn’t take it.
John Knowles has a fictional writing style deemed amazing by many, “Beautifully written...great depth.” - San Francisco Chronicle. Originally Knowles’ writing may seem just like other works of fiction but if one digs deeper they would realize they were wrong. His writing is unique and one with many aspects to it. Knowles is very deliberate in the way he writes and his word choice. He often alludes to events in the future through foreshadowing and turning the story to something that happens in the future. This writing is very different from the other book we read in class called The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Alexie’s writing style is blunt and to the point along with being comical. By reading both books it exposed us to two very different styles of writing. We can now take this knowledge and try to implement it in our own writing.
Why do schools make kids read books? Books are used as tools of learning. You can learn many things including historical events, factual knowledge, different writing types, etc. We read A Separate Peace by John Knowles in English class to learn about kids our age in another time period and to learn about John Knowles writing technique. With this we can make an attempt to write in a more deliberate, eluding way. We have also learned what high school boys’ lives during WWII would be like. It was one of forced patriotism and a wondering of what the world and the war were really like. This is a book that has great learning potential and should be read by all.

Kadin P
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Perfect Page

Post  Calvin L on Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:13 am


Calvin Lee
Separate Peace Perfect Page
10/22/2012

On the back of A Separate Peace, it states that The National Review called the book “a masterpiece”. This itself is an opinion on the book so it is safe to assume that this is not the viewpoint that everyone has on the book. I don’t agree completely with this opinion, but I can see how it would appear to be a masterpiece and I can say that it is indeed well written, even though I didn't enjoy reading the book. Claiming that the book is a masterpiece is going a bit too far in my opinion even though it is very well written and organized. Although I haven’t read that many books for school before I can also state that A Separate Peace was still better than some books I have had to read.
The middle of the book and the end are in my opinion the best parts of the novel. At the beginning it sets off as a book with a lot of potential for a great story with Phineas and Gene, especially when Phineas falls from the tree. Throughout the whole book, from the beginning, the author is very descriptive in all of the scenes which is good but he does it to a point where it is overwhelming. It leaves little to be imagined since it is so direct in its descriptions, which is once again something that others might enjoy but I prefer to be able to bend the imagery around a bit. Just looking at the beginning part of the book, which is to say page 1 to page 60, it doesn't seem like much a masterpiece to me.
Then, when we get to the main “body” of the book it starts to pick up from the slow beginning. In this part we get to see how Gene reacts to Phineas having been injured and how he isn't in school during the first parts. Gene acts oddly and in a very weird gesture he decides to wear Phineas’ clothes which make it more and more obvious that he is deranged. The “darker” part of the school starts to show a bit and it gets more exciting when Phineas comes back to the school and decides to train Gene. Another important part is when Gene goes to visit Leper and finds that Leper had gone crazy after he enlisted. John Knowles does a good job of keeping the story moving and adding in details that will become important later.
When they take Gene and Phineas into the room at night for the “trial” that they are holding, I would say that it is the climax of the whole entire book at that moment. This is also in my opinion the very best part of the book since we really get to see the darkest side of the students and then inner workings of Gene’s mind. It is in this chapter that the whole book ties together and makes sense, without this good of an “ending” I don’t think that the book would have been nearly as good as it was. This is the only part that I really see as a masterpiece in the book. One complaint I have tough is that it is really obvious throughout the book when the “tragedies” happen.
After that there is still some reading left in the “actual” ending of the book, and that too is very important. We get to see exactly how Gene feels about Phineas’ death and how it affects him. Although this part is also one of the best written parts in the book, it pales in comparison to the “trail” chapter. Overall, I wouldn't call this book a masterpiece like the National Review calls it but I see it as a decent book overall. Even though this is irrelevant, I think it is like The Catcher in the Rye in the sense that I didn't enjoy the book at all until I got to the end of the book.

Calvin L
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Sophie Nachman ~ paper 2 A Separate Peace

Post  Sophie N on Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:24 am

A Separate Peace by John Knowles is a book written about a young man named Gene who is growing up at Devon – a boarding school in New England – in the middle of WWII. He and his peers are at the age where they are or should be preparing for war. What kept them from enlisting and escaping to the glories of war? Well for Gene, it was his very close friendship with Phineas. The story gives great insight to the American perspective of the war from a young man’s eyes which in itself is interesting. However, I don’t necessarily agree that it was a masterpiece. It had characters that were not difficult to relate to while showing the reader the life of that time but, and even though it was well written, it gave too much detail, which made it a good book, but not at the same level of a masterpiece.
Despite the fact that the book takes place during WWII it wasn’t difficult to relate to the protagonist – Gene. In the beginning his every move is very much a reaction to Phineas, his best friend. Phineas is not only a natural-born leader, but simply a natural at everything he does, at least this is the impression we get from Gene. He really admires Phineas but is also really jealous of him, which I find relatable. Who hasn’t had at least one friend whom they admire and love, but at the same are jealous of their skill? As a result of the “Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session”, created on page 34, Gene becomes aware that Phineas is manipulating him to prevent his success in school, because that was where he exceled more than Phineas. This realization leads to the impulsive accident on page 60 where Phineas fractures his leg. In a way, this passage is not unlike many of our lives. All of us have heard “if your best friend jumped off a bridge would you jump too?” This is exactly the problem that Gene is in because he would follow Phineas. He is trapped between his best friend and himself, which causes him to unleash his jealously in one impulsive act that doesn’t solve the problem. Gene feels awful for what he has done and Phineas refuses to believe that Gene knocked him out of the tree. So, Gene is forced into the trap again until he is finally set free by Phineas’ death on page 193.
While the book was very well written and undoubtedly proves that John Knowles is a very talented writer, he gives too much detail. The flow of the book and its course are very easy to understand. I never had to reread a page because I didn’t understand the writing. However, it went a little overboard on the detail. In a book like this where it all takes place in the same setting you don’t need to describe the same place over and over again. I think the value in reading this book is the perspective from which it is written and narrated, which is different from most WWII books. The excessive detail is therefore unnecessary and has the same effect as filler in an essay. While John Knowles is really a magnificent writer, I think the detail is better suited for an in depth professional article than a novel.
Over all, the book was good, but definitely not a masterpiece. The relatable character of Gene helped to make it interesting while giving us some insight as to what the war was like from the point of view of an American potential draftee. The good structure and flow of the story made it easy to read. However, the excessive detail made it get really slow at the end. I certainly didn’t love this book the way I loved other WWII books. However, I think it is valuable to get multiple sides of the story, so while it wasn’t a masterpiece, it was still worth reading.

Sophie N
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Re: Perfect Page 2: A Separate Peace

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