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Word Count: 779
In A Separate Peace by John Knowles youth exists in its own environment The Devon School is isolated mentally physically and emotionally from the rest of the world Growing up then involves a transition from this sheltered environment to the harsh realities of things like war hatred and fear Knowles alludes to the archetypal symbols found in Genesis enhancing the meaning of the novel Ultimately Genes fall from innocence in A Separate Peace parallels the fall of man in GenesisThe tree in A Separate Peace represents the Tree of Knowledge in Genesis that provides both the knowledge of good and evil When Gene is pressured into jumping off the limb of the tree and into the river he is scared but eventually he faces his fear and jumps From this experience Gene essentially gains good knowledge from the tree knowledge that he can face his fears The forbidden fruit of the tree is tempting to Eve similar to Genes forbidden fruit of seeing Finny suffer and fail Similar to Genesis Gene also listens to the snake gives into temptation and while standing on the branch of the tree purposely jounces the limb causing Finny to fall The literal fall then symbolizes a figurative fall from innocencelike Adam and Eve who eat from the Tree of Knowledge and as a result are exiled from the Garden of Eden Although this does not represent Genes official fall from innocence it does symbolize his first step towards his loss of innocence From this experience he acquires evil knowledge about himself in that he is capable of an evil act and that he is not as innocent as he once perceived himself to beThe purity and innocence of the Devon River parallels the Garden of Eden The river was clean pure and peaceful and where the boys could be youthful free and innocent It was nothing like the fresh water Devon above the dam where wed had
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