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John Knowles' Novel Symbolizes Many Relations to Each of the Characters and Landmarks That Are Included in the Novel

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Roberto Gibson

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Thesis: In A Separate Peace, John Knowles' novel symbolizes many relations to each of the characters and landmarks that are included in the novel.

When I was a kid, I would head down to the Ohio River with one of my best friends and watch its waves clash onto the shore bed and analyze its behavior. The river was similar to that of me when I was young. I would always get into fights with my siblings and parents, and that's how the river was feeling, hatred. Hitting its waves hard on the rocks and retreating back and roaring toward it again. John Knowles' book has similar binaries like the river and I once had. In A Separate Peace, the author wrote many symbolized relations to each of the characters and landmarks that were included in the novel.

One of the binary mentioned in the book includes Finny and Genes school river and another river. They both went to Devon school and located there was a river named after its territorial master, Devon. The Devon River was a calm and quiet stream. It was clear and never got murky because it symbolized Finnys' personality. Finny wasn't what you would call an egghead. He was more of a sportsmanship type of human being. He enjoyed competing, but also juggled schoolwork and studied when he "wanted" to. When Finny wore the school's tie as a belt, the headmaster didn't give him a consequence because he talked his way out of it. He would never fret over projects that were due the following day or rush to his room to study, he would relax and enjoy every second of the day. On the other hand, Gene symbolized the Nagaumsett River. The Nagaumsett River is contrasting to the Devon River because it is murky and acts in a skirmish way, battling its waves and bellowing with tremendous noise. The river relates to Genes behavior by showing envy toward Finny. "Holding firmly to the trunk, I took a step toward him, and then my knees bent, and I jounced the limp." (60). From this direct quote, Gene showed how jealous he was of Finny. He thought he would never be equal with him because of his vast abilities to basically do anything he wanted. When he took out his jealousy with hate and bounced on the limp, Gene had no intention of really ending Finny's sport career. He later than confessed to Finny, but Finny wasn't ready to hear the actual truth and didn't believe Gene.

Another similar binary from John Knowles relates to Genes academics and Finnys sports. Both of the two characters are competitive in their own unique way. For instance, Finny is very competitive in sports, and Gene is competitive with his studies. When Finny invents "blitzball", his intention was to have Gene become better at sports to be more competitive rather than staying in his dorm room studying brain out. Gene would

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