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Background and History.   John Knowles was born on September 16, 1926, in Fairmont, West Virginia.  The son of a successful coal executive, Knowles.

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Presentation on theme: "Background and History.   John Knowles was born on September 16, 1926, in Fairmont, West Virginia.  The son of a successful coal executive, Knowles."— Presentation transcript:

1 Background and History

2   John Knowles was born on September 16, 1926, in Fairmont, West Virginia.  The son of a successful coal executive, Knowles was raised in a prominent, wealthy family.  At age 15, Knowles began attending Phillips Exeter Academy (a highly selective, prestigious college preparatory school in New Hampshire).  Knowles graduated in 1944 at age 17. John Knowles

3   After graduation from Phillips Exeter Academy, Knowles served briefly in the Air Force Corps Aviation Cadet program and then enrolled at Yale University after World War II.  Knowles graduated from Yale in 1949 and began working as a journalist and traveling writer.  At the encouragement of Thornton Wilder, Knowles began writing A Separate Peace as a reflection of his experiences at Phillips Exeter Academy. John Knowles

4   A Separate Peace was first published in 1959 in Britain and then in the United States in  Knowles won the William Faulkner Foundation Award for best first novel and received a nomination for the National Book Award.  Knowles continued writing and has also spent time teaching at various universities, such as Princeton. A Separate Peace

5   Who remembers what a “bildungsroman” novel is?  **Hint – To Kill a Mockingbird was one. Bildungsroman

6   A Separate Peace is a bildungsroman, a coming-of-age novel.  In this case, the novel revolves around the development and growth of Gene Forrester, who reflects on his time growing up in a preparatory school in New Hampshire. (Sound familiar?) Bildungsroman

7   Though we are reading A Separate Peace as part of our World War II unit, the novel is not exclusively about war.  A Separate Peace focuses on the lives of young men who are growing up and who fear being drafted and forced to serve in World War II. Some of the boys voluntarily enlist to serve, while others are desperately trying to avoid serving in the military.  Regardless, you will see many references to World War II as it is taking place in the “background” of the novel. War is definitely an important concept. World War II

8   A Separate Peace is primarily a flashback to Gene Forrester’s past at the Devon School of New Hampshire, a college preparatory school that is intended to be similar to Phillips Exeter Academy.  The year is 1942, a time when World War II is raging overseas.  Boys of age 18 or older fear being drafted, and many do not wish to enlist in the military to avoid the war. Setting

9   The protagonist is Gene Forrester, who starts the story as a man in his thirties, but then engages in a flashback to his youth at the Devon School.  Phineas (Finny) is Gene’s best friend and roommate who is a very talented athlete who suffers a traumatic injury that ends his athletic aspirations.  Other noteworthy characters are Brinker Hadley and Elwin (Leper) Lepellier. Characters

10   Throughout the reading of A Separate Peace, we will explore the themes of:  War and Rivalry  Identity  Change and Growing Up  Athletics  Jealousy  Many of these are common themes among the bildungsroman genre. Themes


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