"A Separate Peace" takes place during World War II in 1943, a time of great uncertainty and changing lifestyles,
but the danger of this war never really seems to come near Devon. So,
does this terrible environment and events affect the characters of a Separate Peace or just provide a safe and surreal environment for the characters? The war in "A Separate Peace"
may not directly affect the characters for the majority of the novel,
but we see its affects on the characters actions indirectly,
and it ends up greatly affecting the final outcome of the novel.
This is referring to how Brinker believes that the war is boring,
but the students have to do work and chores because of the lack of workers due to the war.
The effect of the war on the characters' actions is also seen when Phineas invents his theory about the war being fake,
but this is due to the fact that he cannot
enlist in the war,
and he wants to hide his disappointment seen in the line,
"I'll hate it everywhere if I am not in this war! Why do you think I kept saying there wasn't any war all winter?" (190).
The effect of the war on the characters' actions is seen throughout the novel with many more examples,
and this is a main reason that the war plays such a huge role in the actions of the characters in the novel.
World War II also has a noticeable effect on the characteristics of certain characters in the story,
and this is a major force in driving the story to its eventual end.
After the war, we see that Leper is very aggressive in his treatment of others,
and even the nature that he loves could not calm him down after his experience in the war. This new found "aggression" of Leper's is seen in the mock court where he refuses to give the name of the person who shook the branch saying,
"You always did take me for a fool, didn't you? But I'm no fool anymore."(176). Here,
we see that Leper actually stands up for himself, something that he would never have done before his experience in the war. The war also affects Brinker as he decides to adopt a deep hatred towards the war to defend himself from the terror that is war. This is seen in the second last paragraph with Gene's comment,
"or else, like Brinker, develop a careless resentment towards it,
" (204) which refers to Brinker's dislike of the war.
Older Gene notes,
"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" (204).
It can indeed be seen that the war has an effect, not only on the characters' actions, but their characteristics and attitudes,
and this aspect of the affect of war plays a major role in the book.
we see this when he is in the infirmary and tells Gene,
"Why do you think I kept saying there wasn't any war all winter? I was going to keep saying it until two seconds after I got a letter from Ottawa or Chungking or some place saying 'Yes, you can enlist with us' "(190). T
This resentment is seen where Gene says,
"He did know his father, however, and so they were not getting along well now." (201). This is in reference to Brinker's complaint that his father's generation had caused the war,
and their generation had to fight it and we see that this war is a major reason for why Brinker resents his father. As it can be seen, the war is a definite factor in the way that the characters in the novel interact with each other,
and the war affects these interactions and relationships in adverse ways.
In "A Separate Peace"
, we see that the war has a very adverse effect on the characters of the novel as well as affecting the plot and the events that take place in the novel.
In "A Separate Peace"
, the war is a major driving force behind the characters' actions and responses to events that occur, and this also shows that it can be seen as a major theme in the novel.