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Word Count: 557
The novel A Separate Peace includes many important themes The author John Knowles was able to make the book more realistic because of his personal experiences Knowles like the characters in the book attended a boarding school Many of his dilemmas were similar to those of Gene and Finny The boys were able to surmount the ins and outs of friendship conformity and growing up Friendship is certainly a major theme throughout the novel It is often based on a mutual need and many people seek friends to fill breaches in there own lives A perfect example is when Gene who seems to be insecure about himself is drawn to Finnys confidence and love for life Their friendship was peculiar because they were opposite in many respects For instance Gene was always concerned with his schoolwork He seemed to be studying at almost every free moment he had On the other hand Finny was a natural athlete and schoolwork was not his top priority Their friendship perplexed the boys and the readers as no one could entirely understand what the attraction was Even though it seemed like a strange and complicated friendship Finny and Gene developed a strong bond Unfortunately a strong bond could not withstand Genes insecurities as he faltered in Finnys unknown pressures of conforming Another important theme is conformity Conformity refers to the choices young people make regarding going along with the crowd and pursuing their own paths They can either give in to peer pressure or be secure with their own individuality Gene succumbs to peer pressure the first time he jumps off the limb into the Devon River Even though he would have rather not done it he went along with the crowd to fit in Another example of Gene trying to fit in and be liked is when he ditches school with Finny Gene never would have considered
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