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A Separate Peace John Knowles Setting The work is set at Devon a private boarding school in New Hampshire on the Atlantic Coast during World War II Two rivers run through the schools campus one is the Devon River fresh water and the other is the Naguamsett River salt water swamp like consistency Some of the works action revolves around a predominate oak tree overhanging a creek Background Information The novel begins with the main character Gene and Finny at Devon for a summer session The school hopes that this session will allow the students to receive a diploma before they are drafted on their eighteenth birthday Gene and Finny are roommates and friends at the school Finny is a natural athlete who also acts as a leader for the other boys in the school devising games like Blitzball and organizing the Winter Carnival However Gene is more academically oriented in his interests and is jealous of Finnys natural ability in sports a quality he lacks in academics Major Characters Gene Forester This character is the protagonist whose envy of Finny eventually leads to his untimely demise He is also suspicious of Finnys motivations since his cynical attitude causes him to think that no individual could be as completely pure as Finny So he projects his own devious nature on other people Phineas He is a nonconformist who fails to acknowledge school regulations and tradition This behavior is illustrated in his consistent lateness to dinner wearing the school tie as a belt wearing a pink shirt and organizing the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session Brinker Hadley This character is an elitist student leader that is concerned about losing his power to Finnys popularity Edward Lepellier He is an isolationist that was ridiculed by his classmates He is important in the events of the novel since he was present when Finny fell from the oak tree Leper surprises his classmates by choosing to enlist
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