A Separate Peace: Setting and Genre

The novel A Separate Peace is set in New Hampshire during WWII. In the natural environment of a rural New England private school the students are able to avoid entering the war. A military school has to be defined and respectable because being in the war was the most respectable thing you could do and the outside of Devon is exactly this; defined and respectable with proud standing trees, never-changing marble staircases and symmetrically cut shrubs.  However, the inside does not live up to this expectation. The lives of the boy’s at Devon are chaotic and filled with daily turmoil.  Perhaps, all of the chaos that goes on within the school takes away from the chaos going on outside of the school or maybe even resembles it. The war does not seem real to the boy’s which is ironic because that is the reason for their schooling.

This story is a fictional coming-of-age/war story told in the view point of Gene 15 years later.   The genre of the story foreshadows the life altering experience that the characters will go through in the novel. Although the book is fictional, these events could happen in the real world.The idea of the Devon School is based off of preparatory schools which are very real today. Also, the idea of children jumping off of a tree in a fit of rebellion is very realistic as well.

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