The Unofficial Autobiography: The Relationship Of The Life Of John Knowles And “A Separate Peace”

1406 words - 6 pages

Throughout time, famous authors have written even more famous books based on their own experiences. Nearly any book can be traced to an event in the author’s life. Whether they do it intentionally or not, these book are basically unofficial autobiographies. While they should not be taken as fact, a reader can come to understand the life of the author, and better understand their work. One famous author, C.S. Lewis, created a beautiful allegory in “The Chronicles of Narnia.” C.S. Lewis was a Christian and Aslan, the main character in the books, was a savior to the world. He modeled Aslan after Jesus Christ. Other famous authors using this technique include J.R.R. Tolkien and John Knowles with his book A Separate Peace.
John Knowles was born in Fairmont, West Virginia in 1926. Fairmont was a small mining town where Knowles attended public schools. His father, James M. Knowles, was the vice president and purchasing agent of a coal company earned him a comfortable living. His mother, Mary Beatrice Shea Knowles, taught him how to read and write and instilled in him a love for learning. His parents decided he needed to go to a better than Oyster Bay High school, so at the age of fifteen, he left home for Phillips Exeter Academy. This academy was an elite prep school in New Hampshire. This new school was both socially and academically difficult. He pushed on and eventually enrolled into Yale to study English in 1944.
In 1947, Knowles graduated a year early due to his enrollment in the Anticipatory Program during the summer. This session was similar to Devon’s “Summer Session” which was meant to prepare boys for the military. Another similarity, was two rivers at Devon that actually exist at Phillips Exeter College. He joined the military to avoid the draft and was accepted into the U.S. Army Air Corps for eight months. He then returned to Yale to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1949. While at Yale, he submitted stories to “The Yale Record” and the “Yale Daily News.” He was also record holding varsity swimmer during his final year. At the age of 19, he married Beth Hughes. He was also an editor for the “Holiday” magazine and started writing novels with encouragement from Thornton Wilder, a winner of three Pulitzer prizes.
Knowles’s relationship with Wilder was one of extreme importance. It all started when Knowles met Wilder at Yale at the age of 22. He apprenticed under him and quickly learned to write. After meeting Wilder, Knowles said, “He was the most brilliant man I ever met and the most insightful in literary matters.” At the age of 25, he gave his first novel to Wilder asking him to read it. Wilder read to page 128, and responded that he couldn’t go on because he wasn’t interested in the material. Disappointed, but determined, Knowles began writing A Separate Peace. He was 28 when it was published. Wilder, an American playwright and novelist, inspired Knowles to begin writing novels. Wilder’s fame as a winner of three Pulitzer Prizes for...

Find Another Essay On The Unofficial Autobiography: The Relationship of the Life of John Knowles and “A Separate Peace”

The Hostility Between Gene and Finny in A Separate Peace by John Knowles

1039 words - 4 pages The Hostility Between Gene and Finny in A Separate Peace by John Knowles Gene feels increasing hostility toward Finny before his fall from the tree. In the novel A SEPARATE PEACE by John Knowles, the hostility between Gene and Finny increase because of the competition inside of them both to be better then one another. It is about the increasing competition between Gene and Finny and the hostility it brings. The hostility finally burst

Analysis of Leper In A Separate Peace by John Knowles

990 words - 4 pages "Truth: the most deadly weapon ever discovered by humanity. Capable of destroying entire perceptual sets, cultures, and realities. Outlawed by all governments everywhere. Possession is normally punishable by death." John Gilmore's perception of truth portrays a view extremely relative to the novel, A Separate Peace, by John Knowles. Knowles creates a theme of veracity in animus within the novel and supports it through the unique character

Coming of Age in A Separate Peace by John Knowles

963 words - 4 pages A Separate Peace “Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed” -Friedrich Nietzsche. A Separate Peace by John Knowles is a coming of age and tragedy novel. In this book, John Knowles shows us the lives of teenage boys during World War II. They boys may seem alright with their cheerful attitudes, but the raging war is still on their minds. They are wondering what it would be like to become a

Denial of Truth in John Knowles' A Separate Peace

2060 words - 8 pages Denial of Truth in John Knowles' "A Separate Peace" The novel A Separate Peace focuses mainly around a 17 year old named Gene Forrester and his psychological development. The story is set in a boys boarding school in USA during World War II. There are four main boys in the novel and they all undergo major character changes through the story. One of them goes crazy, and the others experience severe attitude changes. Gene is caught right in

The Escape of Reality A Seperate Peace by John Knowles

598 words - 2 pages Untitled The Escape of Reality Through out life, many people find ways to escape their own day to day routine and dismiss their future. Some people find it harder to accept their future than others and it shows through their character. In "A Separate Peace" by John Knowles, Finny and Gene try to escape reality and live in an illusion, but end up having to face the truthiness in life. Through the theme, the characters

Gene and Finny's Loss of Innocence In "A Separate Peace" By John Knowles

1026 words - 4 pages In "A Separate Peace" by John Knowles, it is evident that Finny and Leper undergo the most traumatic experiences from the Class of 1943. Through these experiences, both characters lose much of their innocence and naivety. Finny, upon learning of the existence of the war and Gene's moment of hatred, learns to accept realities and perceive the world as it is, not as the perfect childlike image he wants it to be. However, when Leper enlists in the

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

1547 words - 6 pages true. The Olympics would continue on its steady four-year pattern unhindered by this fake war and Gene would compete in them. These sarcastic illusions allow the pair to temporarily live in a peaceful dream world amid war and the sinfulness of the truth-achieving a separate peace- but in their efforts their maturity and development of their own identities are affected. In A Separate Peace, John Knowles creates the

A Separate Peace, by John Knowles

1193 words - 5 pages Perhaps the most interesting front in any war or any battle is the home front.A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, explores how a war affects life at home, and how war affects the teenagers who are preparing to enter it. Set over the course of a year at Devon School-- a New England preparatory academy high in prestige-- the book seeks to show that the lives most affected by a war may not be the soldiers, but the citizens of a country who might

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

710 words - 3 pages The three dichotomous symbols in A Separate Peace by John Knowles reinforce the innocence and evil of the main characters, Finny and Gene. Beside the Devon School flow two rivers on opposite sides of the school, the Naguamsett and the Devon. The Devon provides entertainment and happiness for Gene and Finny as they jump from the tree into the river and hold initiations into the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session. Finny, Gene, and their

"A Separate Peace" by John Knowles

1120 words - 4 pages A Separate Peace(Compare and Contrast Finny and Gene)Have you ever had a best friend who was the complete the opposite of you? The novel, A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, tells of a pair of best friends who vary quite a bit from one another. Gene's best friend, Finny, is an athletic individual who loves to break the rules while he himself is a law abiding studious person. The two main characters in this novel are similar to and different from

"A Separate Peace" by John Knowles

6606 words - 26 pages Phineas and because of this he did not owe Finny anything, he had not saved his life, but rather put him in danger.The Super Suicide Society starts off with a few other boys joining. They hold meetings every night that start off with Phineas and Gene jumping from the tree. Gene continues to do so but dreads the jump each night.Finny loves sports and is disgusted with the summer athletics program. One day while walking across the field to unwillingly

Similar Essays

The Reality Of War In John Knowles' A Separate Peace

3297 words - 13 pages The Reality of War in John Knowles' A Separate Peace In his book A Separate Peace John Knowles communicates what war really is. He uses a number of complex characters in a very complicated plot in order to convey the harsh, sad, cruel, destructive forces of war. The Characters Gene and Finny are used as opposing forces in a struggle between that cold reality of war-that is World War II in this story-and a separate peace. A peace away from

A Separate Peace: The Nature Of Hatred And Peace This Essay Discribes The Fatal Extremes Of Hate And Peace, As Seen In John Knowles' "Separate Peace"

569 words - 2 pages to his eventual death. A clearer example of this is with Leper. His peace-filled life could not see behind the natural scene of people skiing, to the horror of hatred. This weakness resulted in a nervous breakdown in the army, leaving him to escape back home.In this novel, hatred and peace were two governing factors of the characters. John Knowles is conveying the message of hated and peace. In order to survive, one must learn to defend hatred and retain peace. Gene had survived and acquired the peace from the friend whom he hated.

In The Novel "A Separate Peace", By John Knowles

1117 words - 4 pages PoiseIn the novel A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, the protagonist Gene Forrester matures through three stages of his life at a New Hampshire prep school. At the beginning of the story, Gene is insecure and jealous of his charismatic friend, Phineas. Later in the tale, Gene's obsession with Phineas, or more often referred to as Finny, causes Gene to obtain Finny's identity after a tragic accident in which Gene disables Finny. At the end of the

A War Ridden Childhood: Analysis Comparing Lord Of The Flies By William Golding And A Separate Peace By John Knowles

1133 words - 5 pages their own until rescued. Within Lord of the Flies by William Golding, several hints of war and symbols of war are dropped periodically throughout the time that the Ralph and the boys are stuck on the island. In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the setting is an school in America taking place during a war. The schoolboys are about juniors in high school and are being directly influenced by the ongoing war such as preparing the seniors into