Symbolism In John Knowles A Separate Peace

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There are many symbols in the novel A Separate Peace but one that definitely stands out would be World War II. In the novel this tragic war symbolizes an indefinite amount of things like the arrival of adulthood to the triumph of the competitive spirit over innocent play and most importantly it symbolizes conflict. This relates to one of the major themes in the novel, questioning one’s identity. Gene throughout the whole story is someone who doesn’t really know who he is and he feels that enlisting in the war would be something that would help him find himself. Enlisting in the war would help him feel more secure about where he stands at that point in his life. Since the war symbolizes the coming of age, Gene is looking for who he is ties in perfectly with this theme. In the novel the passage beginning with “To enlist. To slam the door…” (Knowles 100) is when Gene finally realizes that he is insecure about whom he is and that he just wants to be someone else because he’s just not comfortable being in his own skin. This relates to the theme of coming of age because Gene towards the end of the book finally decides to enlist in the war with Brinker Hadley and he finds himself with the war and that’s why the war symbolizes Gene growing as a person in this novel. Another symbol that…show more content…
Eventually when he has the courage to enlist in the war with Brinker Hadley he lets go of the past and gave himself a sigh of relief that he finally found himself. He was content with what he was going to put himself through and he was happy about it as he took that one step forward into this life that he painted for himself but finally built up the strength and courage for him to lead this new life. Gene grew and he was fulfilled by entering this new chapter, World War
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