An American classic and great bestseller for over thirty years, A Separate Peace is timeless in its description of adolescence during a period when the entire country was losing its innocence to the second world war. Set at a boys’ boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world. A bestseller for more than thirty years, A Separate Peace is John Knowles’s crowning achievement and an undisputed American classic.
ISBN: 9780743253970
A Separate Peace
Description: An American classic and great bestseller for over thirty years, A Separate Peace is timeless in its description of adolescence during a period when the entire country was losing its innocence to the second world war. Set at a boys’ boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world. A bestseller for more than thirty years, A Separate Peace is John Knowles’s crowning achievement and an undisputed American classic.
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Quotes from A Separate Peace

“I felt that I was not, never had been and never would be a living part of this overpoweringly solid and deeply meaningful world around me.”

 

“Everyone has a moment in history which belongs particularly to him. It is the moment when his emotions achieve their most powerful sway over him, and afterward when you say to this person “the world today" or “life" or “reality" he will assume that you mean this moment, even if it is fifty years past. The world, through his unleashed emotions, imprinted itself upon him, and he carries the stamp of that passing moment forever.”

 

“What I mean is, I love winter, and when you really love something, then it loves you back, in whatever way it has to love.”

 

“There was no harm in taking aim, even if the target was a dream.”

 

“I began to know that each morning reasserted the problems of night before, that sleep suspended all but changed nothing, that you couldn’t make yourself over between dawn and dusk.”

 

“It seemed clear that wars were not made by generations and their special stupidities, but that wars were made instead by something ignorant in the human heart”

 

“All of them, all except Phineas, constructed at infinite cost to themselves these Maginot Lines against this enemy they thought they saw across the frontier, this enemy who never attacked that way-if he ever attacked at all; if he was indeed the enemy.”

 

“So the more things remained the same, the more they changed after all. Nothing endures. Not love, not a tree, not even a death by violence.”

 

“This was the tree, and it seemed to me standing there to resemble those men, the giants of your childhood, whom you encounter years later and find that they are not merely smaller in relation to your growth, but they are absolutely smaller, shrunken by age. In this double demotion the old giants have become pygmies while you were looking the other way.”

 

“Everything has to evolve or else it perishes.”

 

“But I was used to finding something deadly in things that attracted me; there was always something deadly lurking in anything I wanted, anything I loved.”

 

“But something held me back. Perhaps I was stopped by that level of feeling, deeper than thought, which contains the truth.”

 

“Everyone has a moment in history which belongs particularly to him.”

 

“Always say some prayers at night because it might turn out that there is a God.”

 

“Looking back now across fifteen years I could see with great clarity the fear I had lived in, which must mean that in the interval I had succeeded in a very important undertaking: I must have made my escape from it.”

 

“I lost part of myself to him then, and a soaring sense of freedom revealed that this must have been my purpose from the first: to become a part of Phineas.”

 

“I did no know everything there was to know about myself, and knew that I did not know it.”

 

“Je ne give a damn pas about le français, Les filles en France ne wear pas les pantelons”

 

“It was hard to remember in the heavy and sensual clarity of these mornings; I forgot whom I hated and who hated me. I wanted to break out crying from stabs of hopeless joy, or intolerable promise, or because these mornings were too full of beauty for me, because I knew of too much hate to be contained in a world like this.”

 

“You have to do what you think is the right thing, but just make sure it’s the right thing in the long run, and not just for the moment.”

 

“I think we reminded them of what peace was like, we boys of sixteen. We were registered with no draft board, we had taken no physical examinations. No one had ever tested us for hernia or color blindness. Trick knees and punctured eardrums were minor complaints and not yet disabilities which would separate a few from the fate of the rest. We were careless and wild, and I suppose we could be thought of as a sign of the life the war was being fought to preserve. Anyway, they were more indulgent toward us than at any other time; they snapped at the heels of seniors, driving and molding and arming them for the war. They noticed our games tolerantly. We reminded them of what peace was like, of lives which were not bound up with destruction.”

 

“So the more things stay the same, the more they change after all.”

 

“As I said, this was my sarcastic summer. It was only long after that I recognized sarcasm as the protest of people who are weak.”

 

“So the more things remain the same, the more they change after all—plus c'est la même chose, plus ça change. Nothing endures, not a tree, not love, not even a death by violence.”

 

“Stranded in this mill town railroad yard while the whole world was converging elsewhere, we seemed to be nothing but children playing among heroic men.”

 

“The scornful force of his tone turned the word into a curse.”