Perfect Page 2: A Separate Peace

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Post  sean n. on Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:51 am

10/19/2012 A Separate Peace : A Perfect Page
By: Sean Nadasky
For the big paper in English class, I had to connect the protagonists of each of the three books we have read over the trimester. The dilemma was that I didn’t finish reading A Separate Peace yet, so I was risking my grade for this trimester, and possibly for the entire year. I couldn’t and wouldn’t allow a book to undermine my grade! That weekend, miserable as it was, I had to read, and suffer the lengthy details of John Knowles.

As I sat in the kitchen on the bleak Sunday morning, I read A Separate Peace in frustration. There were many origins of my frustration, for one it was Game Day, and I was still considering my fantasy starting line up on several roster spots. While at the same time I was starving for the normal big breakfast my family usually have on Sunday mornings. Outside, it was dark and raining hard, dismal and grey. It was the worst thing ever. The slow movement of the story and the explanations of the day to day life of Gene at Devon really didn’t help me feel interested in the book. To make it even worse, it was cold outside, and it was freezing in the book, so no where was warm.

Then, suddenly, I became interested in the story. I was reading the part when Phineas had recently gotten back and told Gene that there was no World War II. To find out more about this, I continued to read. My interest skyrocketed, and the slow-pace I felt earlier became as invisible as one book on a shelf, lined up with thousands of others; it most certainly is there, but hardly noticeable . One big event after another occurred - Leiper enlisting into the army, the Winter Festival and Leipers sudden return to Vermont, Leiper’s insanity and Phineas’s realization of the war. All of these were big and critical events that affected the characters, but all of them also brought me closer to the characters. The emotions they felt for themselves and one another at that age of life spoke to me - it was a time where everything you do is important, and will affect you for rest of your life.

With the emotion I received from the book, I slowly and mournfully became teary-eyed when Phineas died. I felt sympathy for Gene after losing someone close to him. I, having lost 2 cats and my grandma, could understand how weird it felt, having them gone. Their absence created a black pit of what they would have done, and what changes in life they could have made. It also somehow makes you feel guilty, like you could have done something, like make a joke and have them laugh, or please them in some way or form. Though, despite everything that was miserable and sad, it is very neat how the book has Gene coming back to Devon years later, remembering all these event’s to a “t”, and showing the emotion behind it.

It got me thinking. Even though it was a dull and boring book at the beginning and I didn’t want to read it, I was interested and emotionally touched at the end. Many people found the book boring, and so did I at first, but that didn’t mean it didn’t have some good parts, or was a bad book. It had me hooked, and for several occasions I was happy reading A Separate Peace.

sean n.

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Post  Silas A. on Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:04 am

I did not read A Separate Peace because it was sad, boring, a very slow read and easy to predict. This book, everyone claims that it’s such a good read and it’s not. I disagree about it being a masterpiece. Whenever someone goes and writes so many sentences about describing one thing that is not really that important, to me, it shows that he doesn’t have much to write about. When he goes off and explains about a certain incident it’s like he is asking for a pity party and for people to be sobbing over him. That’s what I don’t like. What I like is someone who knows what he is talking about, so that he can incorporate action and unsuspecting turns in the book so it is a little like Inception.
This book is sad because we have a most unfortunate character; his dreams are chipped away one at a time after every accident that happens to him and when he finally convinces himself that everything is completely fine. This character’s name is Phineas, he is very athletic, daring, and most of all pressures Gene to do anything that do not follow the rules. He and Gene are roommates. There are a total of three accidents that happen to Phineas, the last one results in his death. The first one is when Phineas and Gene are about to double jump off of the tree limb and Gene shakes it so that Phineas falls. The two boys make a dangerous pair, Gene is always wanting to do something right and Phineas is always wanting to break the school rules. It’s like trying to put a magnet together while one side is positive and the other side is negative. The second accident is when Phineas gets mad at Brinker because Brinker wants to blame Gene for getting rid of Phineas so that he can have a room to himself, which is the lowest thing that you can do at a boarding school. The moment Phineas cusses at Brinker and walks out, you can immediately tell that something bad is going to happen and of course, he ends his ability to walk by falling down the stairs and damaging his other leg. The last accident was when they were doing a procedure on Phineas to try and fix his leg to make him walk but the bone marrow ended of clogging up the airway to his heart and he died.
Personally, this was the most boring book I have ever read in my life. I had to consistently reread page after page to make sure that I didn’t just glaze over it. It’s a miracle that I did well on my quiz. An example of missing information is the Quakenbush incident, I still don’t understand what happened only the fact that they were working on a railroad and Brinker was talking about joining the army cause the soldiers were going somewhere and risking their necks to save America while him and other boys put their noses in books reassured that they didn’t have to enlist and that they had a bright future. He says that out in the battle field, that’s were you get recognized. I disagree, I think that you can get recognized if you work hard enough and end up winning a Nobel Prize or something to make the Government know that your there. Only the fortunate in battle have more of an opportunity to receive the Medal of Honor.
This book is so easy to predict that it’s almost depressing. This author to me, can’t seem to go on about a paragraph without waving a red flag to a bull. I feel as though John Knowles, rushed the book in some parts and spoiled his own work to easily. Its like going to a restaurant and then getting it packaged for lunch the next day and when the day arrives, the food is not as good as it used to taste. Overall, I disagree with Aubrey Menen, this is not the best written book, best designed and most moving book. The book moved along like molasses in the sun. It is the complete opposite of Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

Silas A.

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Post  Jack B. on Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:43 am

Jack Boddy 10/20 Period 2
A Separate Piece, a book that has came with mixed reviews throughout 9th grade. I read it, and I disliked it, I wish that I had never used my valuable time to read this book. The story was fine, it was about a boy named Gene that lost a friend named Phineas through jealously and bad actions. But I feel that the story could have been much better if it had a hook, took a faster pace, and dimmed down on the detail.
What is a book without a hook? It's rather boring, to be honest. A Separate Piece did not have a hook, there was no reason I would of never continued reading this book if it were not required for school. It did not give a sense of wanting to read more at all, nor did it leave me curious to what would happen next. How do you expect to reel up a fish without a hook? Well it's impossible, now isn't it? I would of enjoyed A Separate Piece a lot more if I didn’t have to read a fourth of the book to understand what I was reading! Needless to say this was a mistake by the writer.
A Separate Piece took an incredibly slow pace as I was reading it, it seemed that nothing really happened most of the time. I feel like the Author could of built more off the main events of the story. It seemed that most of the time, instead of building off the main event of the story, he was just narrating Genes life. It never went anywhere other than two or three times which were deep into the book. The entire book feels like it could be summarized with just a paragraph. The Author did do something right with this book, he let us know the main character and watch him descend into madness. This is all well and good, but that shouldn't be what the Author is just focusing on. Slow paced events can really ruin a story for the reader.
Finally, the sheer amount of detail in A Separate Piece. The Author over did himself with the detail in this book. The amount of detail really dragged the book along to make it longer. All of the past annoyances with this book could have been avoided with less detail. Don't get me wrong, detail is good, very good in fact but the Author used it in the wrong way. He used the detail mainly to describe the parts between the main events. With this in mind it really unnecessarily dragged the book on and on, explaining Genes day with a extremely uneventful story. Detail when used correctly can really improve your book, but too much will almost always hurt it.

Jack B.

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Post  Hannah H on Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:33 pm

A Perfect Page
Hannah Hart
9th English
Mr. Jester
Honestly, I have never read any other book quite like A Separate Peace. It is a great book very detailed, and in each sentence it is as if you were there. At first it was a slow book and hard to get into, but after the first chapter you are left wondering what is gonna happen next. For example, when Finny broke his leg you were left wondering if Gene actually meant to make him break his leg or not. On the back cover The Observer claimed that it was “A model of restraint, deeply felt and beautifully written” I would agree with this statement. After reading any sentence in the book you could close your eyes and imagine as if everything was happening before your eyes. Personally, A Separate Peace is not my favorite book, but I did enjoy it. I am glad we had the opportunity to read it in class, if I had the chance to read it again I would.
There are many parts of the book I found particularly interesting, like when I found out Gene purposely hurt Finny on page 69 and 70. Gene was trying to tell Finny what really happened, but Finny didn't know what to say because he was too angry and overwhelmed finding out that his best friend purposely hurt him because he was jealous of him. I wouldn't know what to say either if my best friend purposely made me break my leg and made me not able to play sports ever again. I was really surprised because Gene and Finny were suppose to be best friends, and even though Gene was jealous of Finny I didn't think making Finny fall and break his leg so he could never play sports again was the right thing to do. I also thought it was very interesting how Gene didn't want to play sports because Finny couldn't. That was the whole reason Gene broke Finny's leg because he was jealous that he wasn't as good as Finny was at sports, and Gene wanted to be better than him. I also thought it was interesting how Gene referred to Finny as his enemy like on page 204 he stated ”I killed my enemy there” and he keeps referring to them like they are in a “war”.
I really liked how the book was very detailed, and that is what kept you hooked. One of the sentences in the book said “The following morning the clean-washed shine of summer mornings in the north country”. This sentence is very interesting, and it tells you a lot. It is a morning, it is in the summer, it is in the country and it is north. That is one of the reasons I personally really like the book, it was very detailed like how the observer claimed it was deeply felt. You can also really “deeply feel” what is going on. Like I said in the first paragraph I am glad we had the chance to read this book in class and if I had there chance to read it again, I would.

Hannah H

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Post  Kenzie A on Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:08 pm

Mackenzie Abbott
A Perfect Page ~ Separate Peace
When I read A Separate Peace by John Knowles I wasn't impressed at all. The content was so boring I wanted to throw it at a wall. I hated it from the beginning till the end. I kept reading because I had to but every chapter felt like it was a mile long. I read on, and on, and on until the last word, in the chapter, on the last page. When I finished I was so happy that I didn't have to read one more single word out of that obnoxious book. Half of what I had read went through one ear and out the other I realized that when it came time for the quiz, I thought I knew it because I had read but obviously I didn't. When I think back to when I was reading this horrifying book I notice that I was reading so fast that nothing I read stuck because I just wanted to finish. I think the most interesting part in this book is when Phineas dies, I know that’s not really a good thing but I feel like that was the only action or excitement this book had.
On the back of A Separate Peace the National Review claims that this book is “A masterpiece”. In some ways I agree with this but in other ways I do not agree. One reason I believe this statement is correct, is because the format is very well written and thought out. Also every word is greatly used. John Knowles seems to structure the sentences very well. I feel that the paragraphs aren't as well written as the sentences are, but they still stand out. In most books all the paragraphs are usually the same but not this one, his paragraphs are formed much different every time. For some odd reason the way an author writes always stands out to me. I was told in English class on October 10th, that John was a graduate of Yale University so that makes me hold him to higher standards than I normally would for other authors. Still this writer, John Knowles is a very brilliant and prestige’s person and novelist.
Moving on to the reason I do not agree with the statement that the National Review said which stated that the book, A Separate Peace is “A masterpiece”. I don’t agree with this because of the content the book has in it. I disliked the whole book because of this one reason. I don’t like the whole school for war, the weird friendship between Gene and Phineas; I also don’t like most of the scenes. This book is downright boring. When I say boring I mean not interesting, when I read it I couldn't even focus on what was written down on the pages. Every word was not worth reading. Some people might say that the whole war thing was cool but I just did not like that. I didn't like the trips Gene and Phineas went on either. The beach trip, that was really odd and boring as well. One thing about Phineas that I did like was how he was sporty but when he broke his leg everything in the book changed. The trial that Leper and Brinker held was not interesting they talked about the scene when we already knew what happened, it made absolutely no since in my mind.
I will most likely never read this book ever again in my life. I wondered why Mr. Jester wanted us to read this. I know he had never read it but he obviously had to know a little bit about it. I think he was trying to show us the difference between books, how some are more in depth and boring and how others are fun and interesting. I also think he wanted to show us the writing styles that John Knowles had and how everything in A Separate Peace flowed nicely.

Kenzie A

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Post  Peter B. on Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:35 pm

A Separate Piece
Peter Baroff
Perfect Page

A Separate Piece by John Knowles is a story about two schoolboys at Devon School during World War II. Their names are Phineas, called Finny, and Eugene, called Gene. They dealt with tragedy before the war even began. It all started when Finny broke his leg after falling from a tree. Once he fell he lost his athletic ability and was left with a limp. Later on in the year, Finny was in the First Building with some of the other boys including Gene during the night. They were investigating how Finny fell from the tree, and when Finny stormed out he fell down the stairs. He broke his leg again. Even though it was a simple break it caused a big issue. While his leg was being set complications occurred and caused Finny’s death. We read this book for many reasons, to follow the rules or bad things are bound to happen, and how getting close to a war changes people for better or for worse.

One of the reasons we read this book was to show us how disobeying the rules will lead to bad things happening. That was probably not the reason we read A Separate Piece, but it should be. It should be one of the reasons because almost everything the boys do that break the rules end up in tragedy. The Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session or S.S.S.O.T.S.S was formed. This is one of the biggest examples of breaking the rules ending with a terrible injury; Finny shattered his leg which ended his athletic career. In a separate event, although related to the first incident where Finny broke his leg, the boys were out in the First Building at night, breaking the rules once again, and Finny fell down the steps because of anger combined with a his limp. He re-broke his leg and while it was being set bone marrow entered his blood stream and stopped his heart. He died and you can trace all of the schoolboys’ problems, and all of Finny, back to breaking the rules. In this case it caused much more damage than breaking the rules normally does, but you should always be careful and follow the established rules.

World War II affected the lives of everybody in the United States of America. It did not affect people in the same way. Brinker Hadley, one of Gene’s friends was affected both positively and negatively. He wanted to go and enlist and fight for his country, but he also become very moody and dark. He changed in a negative way. He wanted to be a great American citizen, but it came with a few bumps in the road. On the other hand, Leper, one of the schoolboys, had no mental draw backs from the war initially and went off to serve. He was fine until he lost it during military training. The boys at Devon did not see him until the day that Finny fell down stairs and broke his leg.

The war changes people in huge ways, some good, some bad, and in other cases it did not change the person at all. Finny was one of those people who the war only changed a little. When Devon was starting to talk about the war Finny still did not believe that a war was even going. He thought that the war was a story made up by the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Finny was forced into reality when he saw Leper after dropping of military training. The war changed Finny in a way that even he did not understand, because he was wrapped up in sports he did not want to believe that millions of lives were being lost across the Atlantic.

Peter B.

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Post  Sophie W on Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:40 pm

In the book A Separate Peace by John Knowles, World War II is just starting and the boys attending Devon College couldn’t be farther away from it. Gene and his best friend Phineas are two boys going to Devon. The two do outrageous things such as ditch school and go to the beach, or form a group called “Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session”, in which a group of boys going to Devon get together and pull idiotic stunts. But later, Gene realizes “Finny” was just trying to distract him from his studies all along. Phineas is an athlete and is proud of who he is, and doesn’t want anyone, even his best friend, to top him. In his anger, Gene subconsciously shakes a branch the two were standing on, just so athlete Phineas would fall and get hurt, in order to get even with him, and succeeds. Phineas ends up breaking his leg.
I do not agree with The National Review in saying the book was “A masterpiece”, because, for one of many reasons, the book was incredibly boring to me. The book started off where Gene comes back to Devon and thinks back to college life there. Not only did this make it hard to concentrate, but the chapter went on and on describing the details of it all. I would find myself having to re-read sentences five and six times over because each time I tried reading it, I would stop paying attention to the excessive, run-on sentences. Continuing to read deeper into the book, I thought it would become so much more interesting. It didn’t. Sometimes, I would force myself into reading more of the book, solely for the purpose of knowing the material for tests and the fact that I should always read books for school.
Occasionally, the book would begin to pick up its pace and gradually become what I considered to be an alright book. But those details would always come back to haunt the pages and I once again would be finding even the most exciting parts of the book difficult to read and comprehend. I enjoy books that are written with well thought-out yet to-the-point sentences. In the book I am reading now, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, I find that I am enjoying the reading much more than A Separate Peace, because the chapters and sentences do not drag on, and in my opinion, it is a much more interesting plot.
During my time reading A Separate Peace, I would consult with my peers at school who also were reading the book, and found I was not alone in thinking this book was indeed not a “masterpiece”. Others I talked to never even bothered to finish the book at all. The book had no true theme or plot, other than a man who was driven rather disturbingly insane had come back to the place in his life that had haunted him the most, where he “killed his enemy”. This is not a book I would recommend to any future readers, for even though hearing that previous readers miraculously loved it, personally from the very start, I couldn’t wait until I had the book finished and out of the way. Trying to consider why The National Review stated this book to be a “masterpiece”, I look back and think about how the character Gene is portrayed. He is a regular boy at a college with his friends, progressively driven more mad as the book continues. His best friend is favored by everyone who meets him and is an expert athlete, and with all anger building up inside him, kills Phineas and even claims himself to be Phineas. Pondering this, I wonder if I have truly misjudged the book, but I still would not consider A Separate Peace to be a masterpiece.

Sophie W

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Post  Ben S on Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:21 am

A Separate Peace by John Knowles is an in-depth story about a boarding school and in particular two guys named Phineas and Gene. This story takes place in the mid-1940's alongside World War II. With this backdrop, it will affect majority of people's lives including the two main characters in this book. I feel that this book is vital to be read by high school students at some time, but I don't feel that it fits in with my personal literacy due to the style of writing, time in which it was written, and the lack of action.

John Knowles undoubtably has a distinct style of writing, in which there are so many details. In my opinion, with this much detail in his writing I feel as though it leaves no room for excitement within the story. This style of writing is very understandable to read, but is not what I prefer to read within my personal literacy. I prefer literary works that still a fair deal of detail but a significant more of action. With this style of writing it is almost necessary to be written in the past, such as in World War II.

The time in which this book was written definitely influenced my opinion about it. World War II was a very unsettling time for a lot of people including the majority of characters in this book. It creates a certain style of writing in which people's opinions seem to seep through about everything going on around the war politically and physically in the country. I strongly dislike books in which it is highly opinionated (unless it is about sports) it seems to add a layer of argument and distrust between any of the characters. With this book being written in the setting of a boarding school with World War II as only a backdrop, it definitely could use some more action.

The setting of this novel includes a boarding school named Devon in the 1940's with World War II in the background. Although it may be a stereotype, it seems that boarding schools don't typically have too much action within them. Don't get me wrong there were some pretty exciting moments. Such as Gene breaking Phineas' leg, Phineas finally accepting what happened and tripping down the stairs and breaking his leg again, then ultimately dying. While that seems so exciting, it just wasn't enough for me and continuously wanted to make me stop reading that book and every possible time.

This book is vital to be read by high school students, but it doesn't fit in with my personal literacy because of the style of writing, time in which it was written, and the lack of excitement. These reasons, to me, far outweigh the good things about this book, and how it doesn't fit in with my personal literacy. With all that being said, I believe that this was a vital book, although in my opinion, not the best of books, and doesn't fit in with my particular literacy.

Ben S

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Post  Henry L. on Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:12 am

Henry Lindbo Perfect Page #2

For about a week after I got it, A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, stayed in my backpack, between my Part Time Indian book and my Catcher in the Rye book. It was only when I heard that some other people were al ready on chapter five that I finally dug it out of my backpack and began to read it.

It seemed a nice enough book at the beginning, after all I knew it was a classic and that it must be good or it would not have lasted all these years. It was just Gene, Phineas, and some other boys having fun during the summer session of school. It was a little slow, but I was sure that it would pick up the pace soon enough and would stay just as happy as it was now.

But before I knew it, the plot had turned darker; Gene was becoming paranoid and resentful towards his best friend, Phineas. He accuses Phineas for attempting to ruin his study habits with his Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session group. Then in the heat of the moment, during one of the meetings of that group, Gene jounces the limb that they were standing on and knocks Phineas out of the tree.

I feverishly continued to read on to find why and had just happened, only hindered by the fact that it was now five-o-clock and I had to feed my two dogs and five cats which always takes a considerable amount of time. I continued reading but nothing was revealed, in fact it seemed like the whole rest of the book is filler until the second climax. It became boring again. I looked out the window and saw that it was starting to get dark out. I put down the book and continued on with my other homework.

Occasionally I forced myself to read on through the random and unassociated side plots as I learned the oddities and darker sides of the other characters. Finally, after a week or so of reading, the book reaches its second climax and becomes interesting again. All the characters are brought back together. I became transfixed as Gene is put on trial for breaking Phineas’s leg and Leper returns to the story to give his evidence. I continued to read as Phineas storms out of the room and the scene dissolves into confusion and Phineas’s leg is broken for the second time.

I kept reading, eager to learn what happens next, but at the same time, not really sure I wanted to know. I sensed a happy ending in sight and was spurred on by that happy misconception, a misconception that was shattered a few days later in class when someone spoiled the end of the book and the death of Phineas.

I no longer felt compelled to finish the book. I knew I’d have to finish it eventually though. So I continued reading, unable to share Gene’s shock and grief, or lack thereof, at Phineas’s death. I was as unmoved when I finished the last sentence as when I started the first. Yet again A Separate Peace becomes just another book in my backpack and I try not to think about it

Henry L.

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Post  Matt C. on Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:14 pm

I am lying down on my couch with my dimmed lamp sitting on the ancient dusty desk. The sun is setting in the background, I am staring out my window just lying there thinking about my day. Well there wasn’t much to think about in my day because I always had the same routine: get woken up by dad, eat breakfast, go to school, get bored and receive A LOT of homework, go home and DO all that homework, this is happen every day. Anyways I am sitting on my couch with the A Separate Piece by John Knowles in my hand and I really did not know what to expect from this book. So I read the back of the book and I kind of got an idea of what it will be about. I open to page 9 (which is the beginning of the story) and I read a few pages and I am thinking ‘well this isn’t so bad, I mean most books have a slow beginning’. So, I read to page thirty, and well it’s okay, there isn’t really anything interesting that has happened, so I stop at the next chapter for the night.
I was reading it at a considerable pace each night, but I wasn’t overdoing it or anything. I finally came to page 102, which is where we have to read to for our quiz, but then I was overloaded with homework in all my classes; I had tests and quizzes, I also had papers that I had to write, and soccer practices and games. I never finished the book because I put my other classes as a priority over reading. I just would keep saying to myself that I would read tomorrow, but that never happened, I just always had something major to do. Now that you have heard all this, you are probably thinking why everyone else can do this, but not me. You see I am slow at doing things, my brain just doesn't have the speed like everyone else’s. So this all is just one reason why I did not finish the book.
My second reason is that I just got bored of the book. I am a guy who appreciates books that I can really relate to, and is a good page turner. I just didn't find these qualities in reading this book, it wasn't like it was a bad book, I mean it’s a good book but it just didn't appeal to me in the same way as Lord of the Flies. Now this was a book that I really enjoyed it was full of fore shadowing, along with a bunch of hidden meanings about being a savage, and had a conceivable plot. Anyways I just did not feel the same way about A Separate Piece. I just think that maybe there could be an option between A Separate Piece and a different book from another genre of books. Well I can’t think of anything, but different book could be a good choice for the future. I don’t mean to demand this change, but I am simply suggesting it.

Matt C.

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Post  Rachel D on Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:55 pm

Rachel Deininger,
Honors English,
Due: 10/25/12
~A Separate Peace perfect page on how I interpreted the import parts of the book, and why it may have bin written that way.
When I first began A Separate Peace by John Knowles, I found it slow but meaning full. Every word seamed carefully placed into the right sentence, and every sentence expressed the books color and depth with great description. As intense as the description was, I found a connection with the book that I don’t normally find. When I normally read books I don’t find myself very similar to any of the characters. I actually have a tendency to see the differences more clearly than the similarities. That’s not the case with Gene. Gene is a boy who goes to a school named Devon with his best friend Phineas, who he looks up to but is also jealous of. I find myself in the actions he takes, as being something that I may have done or bin viable to do at some point. This book has made it more visible to me about how everyone is connected. When Gene finds himself lying to himself about shaking the tree branch Phineas stood on, I found myself relating to the his whish to change something he had done. It is obvious that it took great amounts of planning to create a book that would be considered a masterpiece, and connectable with. The conciseness of the righting creates an aura of understanding around Gene’s choices, as well as every other character. Some people may find this book boring or dull, but I believe they just haven’t bin able to connect to the book itself. I have learned that it is very important to find yourself in a book, and that you are missing something without that. A book is like putting yourself into someone else’s shoes, and when you are unable to connect to the characters at least in one way, than how can you connect to the book. All you need is one similarity, and then you are on an advancer of your own experiencing the life of someone else. The purpose of finding a connection with a book only goes as far as you are willing to let it. Like if you chose to despise this book because of its lack of excitement than you only get a lack of excitement out of the book. I find this to be true, and I believe the author of this book must have thought something similar. When Gene tries to become Phineas because he fells like he is small compared to him, I can relate. Ever since I’ve come to woods I have had mostly teachers my brother had before me. They all seem to be looking for him in my work and my grades; this fact has often made school harder for me because they expect me to be able to effortlessly understand whatever is thought. On the other hand Gene had a different way of dealing with this than I did. He tried becoming Gene while I tried separating myself, I may be like my brother, but I want to leave a different impression than he did. The connections I made to A Separate Peace, allowed me to glean a new perspective of reading, and for some reason that seams to be happening quite frequently. This book was written to allow understanding of the mind of someone else, and that’s exactly what I got out of it.

Rachel D

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Post  Moriah T on Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:17 pm

Separate Peace by John Knowles was a perplexing book that left me with conflicting thoughts and feelings. A book that by the end leaves you with more questions then answers. There are certain moments in this book that makes you re-read it over and over and still never can quite grasp it. There is one specific moment in this book that just completely stuck me. On page 194 Gene says: “I could not escape a feeling that this was my own funeral, and you do not cry in that case.” To be honest this part kind of freaked me out in a way. Some thing about the way he said this was very creepy and it caught me off guard. This is when I realized how crazy Gene was becoming and how much more I disliked this book. There whole friendship was more like him going between worshipping Finny or hating him. This book was questions and no answers. At this moment you grasped that Genes life was pretty much over. The person he live to hate or love was gone and he couldn’t help but feel like it was his fault. But the fact that he didn’t cry made me think that there were some issues going on in Gene’s head. By have the books point of view being in Gene’s thoughts you couldn’t help but have a bad feeling also. Another part, at the end of this book was saying he never killed his enemies on the battlefield became he had already killed his enemy. This made the whole book completely not make sense at all. He loved Finny and said his death was his own death. But now he was the enemy. Does that mean Gene was an enemy of himself? All in all this book when way over my head. That or I am totally over thinking it. Either way I disliked this book immensely. I felt this book was all over the place and left a bad feeling for me. Wither I didn’t understand it correctly or it really is a terrible book, it left me confused and unsatisfied. Usually at the end of books everything makes sense and the last sentence is the best most filling moment. Well let’s just say this book was well below that.

Moriah T

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Post  hgullett on Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:23 pm

Hayley M.E. Gullett 10/21/12 2nd Period English

About two weeks ago, I was in Mr. Jesters classroom, reading A Separate Peace. I was sitting next to Mattison at a table with Veronica and Calvin. I was trying to free my left foot from its cage of numbness since it had fallen asleep once again. The fluorescent lights above my head made it impossible to become sleepy eyed, and they made the room unnaturally bright compared to the green jungle outside. I remember peering through the windows into the Great Room, and back out the other set of windows practically suspended in air above the rows of lunch tables. The smell of bleach, rotting fruit, and burnt waffles wafted through the air as I heard footsteps passing in the hallway. Multitasking, I held the paper- back book between my index finger and thumb while rapping and tapping against my foot. I lowered my head and whispered to it to wake- up from its coma. Then someone across the room looked at me with a slightly amused expression, so I resorted to just hitting and smacking it around. As I continued to read, I could sense everyone around me translating the letters into their heads’ from the many pages. It reminded me of the teleporting laser-light in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; how almost anything could be magically split into a million tiny pieces and pop up on a screen. Unfortunately, you cannot reach into someones mind and pull out a picture like in the movie. I broke out of my thoughts, and finally my foot had pins in it. Small, yet deep sighs, skimming eyes, and rapid page-turning noises were a few of the many things I saw and heard as I glanced around the room. I quietly chuckled to myself at the whole of us, as I guessed most were reading this book with slight confusion and slivers of boredom. Images of Devon, with it’s swimming pools, sports teams, soccer fields, dorms and hardwood floors flooded my mind as Gene told about his school. Something I noticed is how often Gene points out things about Phineas he finds weird, or how handsome, glowing, and athletic he is. Everything seems to be a game to Gene, or a mystery. Everything Finny does, Gene tries to decipher it like it has a symbolic psychological meaning to it. My thoughts kept drifting back to a moment in the book where Gene puts on Finny’s clothes. Something about this really struck me as odd, how he described his image. As I flipped back (Pg.65, Knowles) I read : “I decided to put on his clothes”, “ I was Phineas, Phineas to the life. I even had his humorous expression in my face, his sharp, optimistic awareness ”, this really creeped me out. It’s just too strange for him to see himself as Finny, to pretend to be him. Flipping back (Pg.28, Knowles) ; “He had gotten away with everything. I felt a sudden stab of disappointment. That was because I just wanted to see some excitement; that must have been it.” I couldn’t figure out why on earth Gene tries to convince the reader, and himself that his thoughts are innocent. Going back even farther (Pg. 25, Knowles) I found Gene thinking; “It was hypnotism. I was beginning to see that Phineas could get away with anything. I couldn't help envying him that a little bit. There was no harm in envying even your best friend a little.” I realized this was foreshadowing at its finest. Gene does not like Phineas, he despises his actions. Gene wants Finny to get yelled at, he wants Finny to be punished, to not get away with something. I think Gene really wants Phineas to not get away with being “perfect”. As I looked out the window at the wind blowing in the trees, I wondered why Phineas was even friends with Gene in the first place. They don't have common interests; one is very academic, the other athletic. Gene is very jealous of Finny, and since I think Finny is street smart, he should realize Gene has some bad qualities. Why would you want a friend that just goes along with whatever you do and does not voice their opinion? Gene acts like he is forced to say yes, but he never actually says no. Also, when Finny saved Gene from falling, Gene thought to himself “I didn’t need to feel any tremendous rush of gratitude towards Phineas.” It was in this english period that I realized I wanted to warn Phineas; his friend wasn't betraying him, they were never friends. It had always been a relationship made of jealousy and wanting. Someone behind me unzipped their backpack, I heard giggling and small talk fill the room as everyone packed up for next period.


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Post  Jane W on Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:49 pm

It was a dark and cloudless night when I first started reading Chapter 10 of A Separate Peace. I was enveloped in my bed, surrounded by a marshmallow white comforter, continually telling myself I would read just one more chapter, and just one more chapter, for I was behind on my reading. Turning to my very last page, trying to quickly finish Chapter 9, I thought that I was done finally with this horrible book. I enjoyed this book as much as a paper cut and lemon juice poured upon it. My eyes droopy and my brain half awake, I read down the page, preparing my hands to close the book, once finished. That was when I read the last paragraph, the paragraph that opened my eyes, and got my brain working once again; the paragraph that caused me to stay up extra late that night, and be unbelievably tired the next morning. Everything happened because of this one paragraph, and a letter.
“I took the telegram from Phineas, facing in advance whatever the destruction was. That was what I learned to do that winter” “I HAVE ESCAPED AND NEED HELP. I AM HERE AR CHRISTMAS LOCATION. YOU UNDERSTAND. NO NEED TO RISK ADDRESS HERE. MY SAFTEY DEPENDS ON YOU COMING AT ONCE.”
Reading this I remember a smile plastering itself onto my face like wallpaper. It was parts of books like this, which made me glad to have read this, piece of literature, that otherwise, to me, was a waste of time. How was I to put my book away, with a dramatic cliffhanger like that? The suspense drove me crazy. Forgetting the previous little promises I made with myself, I turned the page to a new chapter, Chapter 10. This was one of my favorite chapters of the whole book. It was different from the rest. All the others were predictable in some way, shape, or form. In addition, some chapters felt like filler chapters, as if they had no meaning to the story, and were there only to grow the plot a little more. However, this chapter was original, it was out of the setting of the boarding school, and it had adventure, something that I strive to find in almost every book I read. Now do not get me wrong, I love a narrative, but just not this book’s style of narrative.
“That night I made for the first time the kind of journey which later became the monotonous routine of life” At the beginning of the chapter, I read this, and it immediately kept me hooked like a trout on a fly. The word “journey” to me at that point in time felt like a relief, that maybe I would find a chapter in the book I would actually enjoy. Starting out on a good note, or in this case, an intriguing, and well-written sentence, helps me get into the flow of reading. Then I continued reading the chapter I originally thought I would like, and for a moment, disappointment began to push its way into my mind. I started to see the character was not going anywhere, and he was back to random reflection on his life, which I despised greatly. Though I continued to read anyway, dreading each second, I came upon where the trip to Leper started. I was ecstatic to know that the book had not let me down at all, and it was me who had lost faith in it.
Leper was a character who had always interested me in A Separate Peace. He was a quiet boy that seemed always nice enough, and this plot twist completely changed my idea of him. I continued to read with a sense of excitement and expectation, a million things ran through my mind as I tried to figure out what was so important that endangered Leper’s safety. I was sure that as I continued to read, I would soon discover the reason. The interesting thing about these few pages is that the actual climatic moments in which when Leper goes crazy on Gene. These are not even the parts I enjoy the most. To me, for these particular pages, it was more the building tension, and the thought processes I was forced to go through as a reader, which brought me the most enjoyment and satisfaction. To me, the adventure does not always have to be in the form of action, which I enjoy, but it can also be a state of mind, which it is, in this particular case. Moreover, having both adventure, and tension in Chapter 10, created for me the best of both worlds.
By:Jane Williford tongue

Jane W

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Post  Jacob G on Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:49 pm

I'm sorry this is late, I procrastinated even though there were four other assignments I had to turn in.

Jacob Goodwin
Perfect page on A Separate Peace
Due 10/22/12 (But turned in too late.)
How does A Separate Peace fit in with your personal literacy?
To be honest, it doesn’t fit in with my personal literacy at all. Most of what I read is science fiction, larger-than-life stories about the sweep of time and massive interstellar war. This, however, is far different. It takes place in the past, on one planet, mostly among two boys.
I was reluctant at first to read it and I didn’t think I would enjoy the book at all. Many of my classmates didn’t find it interesting and some thought it was hard to read and understand. I did enjoy the book, at least from what I read of it. I didn’t have time to complete it before we began reading Into the Wild, and my knowledge of what happened is vastly incomplete. Best case scenario, this will offer a different perspective. Worst case, I will be completely wrong.

The events didn’t have as much of an effect on me though, I kept imagining how things would be different if it did take place in the future. A leg broken by falling from a tree would be a harmless injury cured in days, school would be entirely different, and the weapons of the war going on would be a much bigger threat to even the people at school.
Looking back, though, I can see how important these things were. Phineas’ life was entirely changed by his leg breaking. Sports seemed to be all that he did for entertainment, and the severe injury made them impossible for him to play at school. I don’t think that would have stopped him if the teachers hadn’t forbidden him from playing.
Without the horrible weapons in science fiction that could tear apart continents, the war would seem distant unless the fighting was far too close.
I still don’t entirely understand things. But sooner or later, I’m sure I will figure it out.

Jacob G

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