A separate Peace Questions Chapter One

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A Separate Peace Questions
Chapter One

  1. Gene states, “ 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.” What was the source of his fear and how had it dissolved? (p. 10)

  1. Discuss the two sites Gene chooses to visit. What was his reaction at each?

Chapter Two

  1. Mr. Prud’homme is talked out of his anger over the missed meal, and Gene states,

“… if Phineas pressed hard enough, that there might be a flow of simple, unregulated friendliness between them, and such flows were one of Finny’s reasons for living.” What character trait is revealed here?

  1. “The Devon faculty had never before experienced a student who combined a calm ignorance of the rules with a winning urge to be good, who seemed to love the school truly and deeply, and never more than when he was breaking the regulations … The faculty threw up its hands over Phineas, and so loosened its grip on all of us.” What is the THEME coming through here?

Chapter Three

  1. Gene states, “I was subject to the dictates of my mind, which gave me the maneuverability of a strait jacket.” Is this the teenage Gene or the 30-something Gene talking, and what does he mean exactly?

  1. Blitzball acts as a SYMBOL in this novel. A symbol of what?

Chapter Four

  1. In chapter four on pages 50-3, Gene comes to what he believes to be a ground breaking realization about his friend Phineas. What does he believe are Finny’s motives behind being his friend?

  1. Yet on pages 57-8 a new development changes Gene’s thoughts regarding Finny. What happened?

  1. On page 60, a rather shocking event occurs. Describe the event, the motive and your feelings on the matter. Have you ever witnessed or heard of anything like this?

Chapter Five

  1. Gene looks through Finny’s belongings to find his pink shirt and promptly puts in on. WHY? Do you believe that this is fitting (pardon the pun) or odd? Is there further SYMBOLISM here?

  1. Discuss the IRONY present in the hospital scene on pp.64-7.

  1. Examine the interchange between the two friends on p.71:

“You aren’t going to start living by the rules, are you?” (Finny speaking)

“I grinned at him. “Oh no, I wouldn’t do that,” and that was the most false thing, the biggest lie of all. (Gene’s response)

Chapter Six

  1. How has Phineas’s accident and the end of summer affected Gene?

  1. We are introduced to two new characters in this chapter – Brinker Hadley (p.74) and Quackenbush (p.76). Write a short note on each of them.

  1. Phineas declares, “Listen, pal, if I can’t play sports, you’re going to play them for me, and 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.” Comment on this statement. Does it offer CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT? THEME?

Chapter Seven

  1. Explain what Gene means when he says, “The war would be deadly all right. 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. And if it wasn’t there, as for example with Phineas, then I put it there myself.” Is there a THEME about human nature lurking beneath these words???
Chapter Eight

  1. On page 109, Gene states, “peace had come back to Devon for me.” Why?

  1. Both Gene and Phineas step out of character in this chapter. How and why?

Chapter Nine

  1. As revealed on pages 123-7, what type of individual is Leper?

  1. From page 137, draw a conclusion regarding the meaning behind the title of the book.

Chapter Ten

  1. This is Leper’s chapter.

  1. How has he changed?

  2. How does he rock Gene’s world?

  3. Analyze his story on pp. 149-51. What conclusions can you draw?

Chapter Eleven

  1. Throughout this book, and in this chapter war and peace are side by side. How is this so on pages 153-4?

  1. What is IRONIC about the interchange between Gene and Phineas on page 155?

  1. Who is responsible for Finny’s horrific fall down the white marble staircase? What THEME is offered here?

Chapter Twelve

  1. “Once again I had the desolate sense of having all along ignored what was finest in him.” Is this often the way it is? Is there a THEME here?

  1. This whole chapter uses physical details of SETTING to enhance MOOD. Show that this is so.

Chapter Thirteen

  1. Mr. Hadley is a character that leaks IRONY every time he opens his mouth. Support this statement. (pp.198-200)

  1. Through Gene, Knowles offers us a clear THEME at the end of his book: “Because 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.” (p.201) Explain this statement as it connects to the novel.

  1. “My fury was gone, I felt it gone, dried up at the source, withered and lifeless. Phineas had absorbed it and taken it with him, and I was rid of it forever.” (p.203)

So what was Finny to Gene?

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