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SETTING The novel A Separate Peace is set against the background of the Second World War The book depicts a peaceful New Englands boys school by the name of Devon There is a pastoral quality about the school for it is surrounded by enormous playing fields is filled with sunshine and has a peaceful river flowing through campus During World War II the novelist John Knowles attended Phillips Exeter Academy on which Devon was based LIST OF CHARACTERS Major Gene Forrester - the protagonist and narrator of the novel who tells of his experiences at Devon when he was sixteen and seventeen years old He is portrayed as a person who normally conformed to the rules and regulations of the school and society in general however when he is with his roommate Finny he behaves very differently In Finnys presence Gene always wants to act like him and be a free man unaffected by the dictates of others but he never really succeeds As a result he becomes insanely jealous of Finny and his jealousy turn into brutality To humiliate Finny and bring him down to his level he bounces his friend out of the tree causing his leg to break Because of the accident Finny becomes a cripple which causes Gene much guilt and shame Phineas Finny - the roommate and close friend of Gene the narrator He is admired by both his teachers and his classmates He is considered the best athlete in school moving with perfect physical grace harmony and coordination He is also known as the boy who never makes a mistake even though he is always spontaneously saying and doing the unexpected Never desiring consistency Finny enjoys things that are new and different Gene
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