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Word Count: 736
As with most novels it is best to begin a discussion of themaics by examining the title The phrase a separate peace is mentioned once in the novel when speaking of the Winter Carnival Gene writes It was this liberation we had torn from the gray encroachments of 1943 the escape we had concocted this afternoon of momentary illusory special and separate peace The Devon of 1942 and 1943 is at times a haven of peace and forgetfulness for Gene and his classmates And it is significant that it is termed a separate peace because it indicates that the peace achieved is not part of the surrounding reality which for Gene is a world of conflict a world at war The joy that the older Gene remembers upon revisiting Devon is due to such momentary periods of complete freedom achieved during the summer of 1942 and the following school year moments when a sixteen-year-old could live without conflict or rules and forget about the encroaching reality of a world war The novel is about a young mans struggle to achieve and maintain such a separate peace And although the setting is in the USA in the midst of war the focus of the novel is internal For the majority of the plot the distant war is an illusion for the students in Genes class and for the reader the war becomes the biggest metaphor of the novel Genes soul becomes a battleground where jealousy fear love and hatred combat for control of his actions And amidst the turmoil of adolescence it is the victory of the dark forces of human nature that make Gene realize that each person is alone with his enemy that the only significant wars are not made by external causes but by something ignorant in the human heart Thus Finnys fantastic assertion that World War Two is an illusion maintains a
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