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Posted April 27, 2001
'A Separate Peace' is a novel I was introduced to in my 10th grade year by my teacher, Ms. Virginia Meeks. Every year since, I have re-read the novel . As Ms. Meeks' replacement, I now teach it to my sophomores! Knowles captures an essance of humanity that students need to think about-Why do people hurt others-- Especially those they love? What is the blackness in the human heart-- 'ingnorance' as Gene sees it? How can we go on after hurting another? This novel is complex. My best readers love it for the character complexity; my less proficient like it for the friend themes. I highly suggest 'A Separate Peace' before tackling 'Catcher in the Rye.'Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 5, 2001
At this price and in this format, I assume the book we're talking about is used as a teacher's edition and not the mass-market paperback that students would read for a class assignment. If you are to teach 'A Separate Peace,' don't despair! The students will whine and complain but the book hasn't aged all that badly. Adolescence is still adolescence, and flirting with death is still a rite of passage whether it's the Super Suicide Society, playing 'chicken' with souped-up Plymouths or dropping Ecstacy. As the book grows older, new and more interesting intepretations and questions arise. For eample, is there any hint of sublimated homoeroticism between Gene and Finny? (Personally, I think not: before one has a sexual identity one must have an identity, and Gene fears he is losing his to the charismatic Finny.) Your students will have a fairly easy time of ferreting out water symbolism in the book: note how often water or its various forms (ice, steam, etc.) are mentioned in the book, and which forms of water are 'pure' (the stream) and which are 'polluted' (the lower estuarial river). C'mon, you know 'A Separate Peace' is a prep school classic and deserves to be read. If nothing else, it helps explain, to some extent at least, why our country's political Establishment behaves the way it does.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.