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A Separate Peace is a 1959 novel by John Knowles, a coming-of-age story symbolizing Cold-War paranoia during World War II. The events take place from Summer, 1942 to Summer, 1943.
Gene Forrester, a student at a boarding school, sabotages his successful best friend, Phineas, out of perceived jealousy. When Gene realizes that Phineas was not trying to sabotage him, Gene finds out too late that Phineas was a true friend, and Phineas becomes crippled in an accident by Gene. The rest of the story details Gene's and Phineas's friendship and Gene's attempts to reconcile with what had happened.
Surprisingly required reading in a lot of schools, despite the Homoerotic Subtext.
Provides examples of:
- Added Alliterative Appeal: At the beginning, Gene and Phineas create the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session.
- An Aesop
- Boarding School
- Break the Cutie : Leper.
- Also Finny.
- Bury Your Gays - Finny
- Calvin Ball: Blitzball is kinda like this. There are rules, but they seem to be made up at random as they go.
- Career-Ending Injury: happens to Finny, and gets the plot going.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Leper
- Deadpan Snarker: Gene has quite a few good moments.
- Death by Irony
- Death by Newbery Medal
- Downer Ending
- Green Eyes: Finny's, as pointed out repeatedly by Gene.
- Homoerotic Subtext: So blatant that the book has been banned from some libraries, but still subtle enough for Plausible Deniability.
- Memetic Badass: Leper, an in universe example. When he goes off to join the army, the students joke about how he has been at every major battle in the war.
- The Messiah: Phineas
- Mind Screw: Lots and lots of it.
- Was Finny a good guy, a regular person that Gene liked, or bad guy who was just Crazy Awesome?
- Precision F-Strike: At the 'trial'.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Happens quite literally once: Finny wears a pink shirt and ignores any comments about it.
- Refuge in Audacity/Sarcastic Confession: When accused of injuring his friend on purpose, the main character jumps into a series of increasingly ludicrous things he obviously didn't really do to him, such as sleeping with his sister, which culminates in knocking him out of the tree.
- Refuge in Audacity: Finny's main means of avoiding punishment from teachers.
- Unreliable Narrator
- World War II