Searching for peace can be a challenge when every thing around you has something to do with war. Growing up can be difficult as well but through the tough times people become more knowledgeable. In A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, Finny, Gene, and Leper each struggle find peace and escape reality without having to face the truths to their lives.
For Leper, Finny, and Gene, it is hard to find tranquility with a war happening around them. For example, Finny couldn’t find serenity with himself because of his broken leg and that caused him to devise the idea of the fake war. It was hard for him to be happy because of his disability. Because of this, he felt useless and so he produced this idea so he could be at ease and not be an outcast. In addition, Leper looks for a beaver dam instead of working to be carefree and escape the war, ??we all volunteered?But not Leper.? He does this because he is afraid that a change in his life may disrupt his quiet state. By escaping through nature, he is avoiding the truths to his life. Furthermore, Gene fins a challenge in being placid because of his situation with Finny. He is unsure of his own opinion because he is used to agreeing with Finny, that he never developed his own thoughts and ideas. It’s not until Finny’s death that he finds his peace. With all these things happening around them they struggle to be mellow but find a similar relief in the fact that they will always have their own separate peace at Devon.
Through all these events, all the characters suffer their own hardships. For example, Gene loses the friend he never knew he had. He was so busy competing with Finny that he never realized what a true friend he was. All his jealousy towards him turned to hate and eventually ended in tragedy. In addition, Leper suffers by discovering things about himself that he never realized. He learns that he is tired of pleasing other people all the time, ?What’s she got to be pleased about?I’m pleasing myself!?(134). All he wants is someone who cares for him and that’s what he’s hoping to get when Gene comes to visit him. Furthermore, Finny endures the pain of realizing that he was misled by the one he cared about the most. For Gene the friendship was a bitter rivalry but for Finny, it was the best thing that ever happened to him. They each suffer through all this, but Finny suffers the most by being forced to face the truth about his accident. All this shows how they each tolerate pain through maturity, and learn more about life.
As each of the characters grow up, they become more knowledgeable. For example, Leper truly finds himself when he comes home from war. This ?crazy? Leper is who he really is. He was never sure of himself because he was always too busy escaping reality. In addition, Finny becomes more knowledgeable after he finds the truth about his accident. He was resentful towards Gene for doing such a thing; ?You want to break something else in me! Is that why you’re here!? (76). His friendship with Gene was part of what kept him composed and the truth shattered his false representation of reality. Furthermore, when the truth about Finny’s accident comes out, Gene world is shattered, and he sees everything around him the way it really is. This view gives him a better understanding of life. He learns that you can’t just escape reality because it will always be there. Through all these events these characters become more knowledgeable by learning more about themselves and the world around them.
Throughout the story, each character finds that growing up is a complex and hazardous task. In the search for peace, they lose a sense of reality but gain maturity. They also lose a sense of security that gave them the common bond they shared at Devon.