Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on John Knowles's A Separate Peace. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
A Separate Peace: Introduction
A Separate Peace: Plot Summary
A Separate Peace: Detailed Summary & Analysis
A Separate Peace: Themes
A Separate Peace: Quotes
A Separate Peace: Characters
A Separate Peace: Symbols
A Separate Peace: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of John Knowles
Historical Context of A Separate Peace
Other Books Related to A Separate Peace
- Full Title: A Separate Peace
- When Published: 1959 in Britain; 1960 in the United States
- Literary Period: Modern American; Post-War Fiction
- Genre: Coming of Age Novel (Bildungsroman)
- Setting: The Devon School, a private academy in New England in 1942-1943
- Climax: Having discovered that Gene intentionally caused him to fall and break his leg, Finny rushes down a hallway and tumbles down a set of stairs, shattering his leg once again.
- Antagonist: Jealousy, resentment, and violence
Extra Credit for A Separate Peace
A Separate Flop. Paramount Pictures released a film version of A Separate Peace in 1972. The movie was poorly received by critics and was a commercial failure.
Inspiration. In writing A Separate Peace, Knowles drew heavily on his experience of spending two summers at Exeter in 1943 and 1944, which he has described as among the happiest times in his life. The character of Phineas is based directly on a student named David Hackett, whom Knowles befriended in the summer of 1943 at Exeter. Hackett attended Milton Academy, a rival high school, during the regular school year.