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A Seperate Peace Evolution Essay

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Evolution is an important part of nature and without it many animals would be extinct. John Knowles shows how this is also true for humans in his novel A Separate Peace. Knowles explains this when he has a character from the book, Elwin Lepellier, state, "Everything has to evolve or else it perishes" (Knowles 125). Knowles understands the importance of evolution and development from childhood. The idea that people must evolve or they will perish is primarily conveyed by the character, Phineas. Phineas, is one of the main characters, but Knowles also adds the character Leper to further the importance of adaptation.

One of the main reasons why Finny perishes is because he is unable to change from a childlike mentality into a soldier's mentality. Phineas is one of the most childlike characters in the book, and because of his inability to evolve, he ends up perishing. Finny is represented as innocent and childlike through his idea of sports being the ultimate good, and the way he treats life as a giant playground. Phineas does not take anything seriously, not even the war which he is going to be drafted into in less than two years. Finny lives in his own bubble and believes things like the war is fake, and that Gene can make it into the 1944 Olympics. While all of the other boys begin to accept the war and prepare, Finny continues to show signs of innocence and childness. Near the end of the novel Finny still plays games and has snowball fights, while the rest are enlisting and training for war. Because Finny cannot change to a war mentality, he ends up giving up the ghost.

Another reason why Finny perishes is because he will not accept Gene's part in his fall from the tree. He is unable to accept the fact that Gene intentionally shook him off of the tree. Even after all the evidence was laid in front of him in the "court" Finny "doesn't care" and says that Brinker can "collect every f---ing fact there is in the world!" (Knowles 177). Although Phineas knows the truth that Gene shook him off, Finny still denies the facts. An internal struggle, like the one Finny goes through, is enough to kill anyone. Because Finny is unable accept the facts of life he perishes. John Knowles puts Finny in as a main character in order to convey his idea of adapting or perishing, and how important this is at a time of war.

Another character that Knowles uses to help strengthen his belief of evolving or perishing is Elwin Lepellier. Lepellier is the first boy who enlists in the war, and because of his inadequacy to adapt he ends up perishing mentally and goes crazy. Gene's Enemies an online essay states, "Leper, a "naturalist," represents the fragile, innocent people who hide from the horrors of life until one day they "meet it, the horrors face to face, just as (they) had always



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