A separate Peace by John Knowles Required Reading for Mr. Kein’s English 2-H

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A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Required Reading for Mr. Kein’s English 2-H
I. The vocabulary terms and questions will NOT be submitted to me and graded as assignments; however, they are items that I strongly suggest you become familiar with before you take the test over this novel on day two of the term. Further, these items will serve as discussion topics throughout the first week, so in order to participate in class effectively, it would be to your benefit to have knowledge of these subjects.

II. Your reading journal is a requirement and will be submitted to me on the first day of the term. One journal entry investigating your experience with A Separate Peace is required for every two chapters of the novel. Following this pattern, you are to write your first journal response after you complete Chapter Two. A minimum of at least one full handwritten page is required for every two chapters. Thus, you will have at least seven full handwritten pages for your required journal (your 7th and final response deals only with Chapter 13). Also, I will NOT accept typed responses; your responses must be handwritten using blue or black ink (no pencil, please). Again, these aspects are requirements for completing the reading journal, not suggestions. Make sure you clearly label your entries by chapter.

A successful journal response explores your feelings while reading the novel. If something from the novel relates to your life, write about it. If you have experienced a similar emotion or situation as that of a character from the novel, write about it. If a situation from the novel reminds you of anything that has happened to you in your life, write about it. If you have an opinion or question concerning events, behaviors, etc. in the novel, write about it. Basically, you have the freedom to write anything you deem appropriate, as long as you can relate it in some way to A Separate Peace and reflect a sophisticated thought process based on the events, themes, issues, etc. involved in the respective chapters.

A Separate Peace

Vocabulary and Discussion Questions

Mr. Kein


assimilate rhetorically culminate discern

erratic guileful incongruity

solace anarchy prodigious

Discussion Questions

1. Compare and contrast the personalities and characters of Finny and Gene.

2. Why is Gene considered the protagonist of the novel rather than Finny?
3. Explain how World War II functions as an important event throughout the novel.

4. In your opinion, was Gene’s act of bouncing the limb an impulsive act or one of hatred? Explain your response with a quotation from the novel.

5. How does the trial affect both Finny and Gene?
6. Describe the character of Leper. Why is he important to the novel?
7. What is the symbolic significance of the tree in the novel? Choose one other symbol from the novel and explain its significance.
8. What is the difference between the two rivers mentioned in the novel? How is each a reflection of Gene?
9. “This has nothing to do with me! Nothing at all! I don’t care!” Who says these words and when and why does he say them? What’s important about them?
10. How is jealousy brought out as a theme in this novel?
11. Why does the plot end as a tragic comedy?
12. Why is Finny becoming a cripple the absolute worst punishment for him?
13. Contrast the setting of Devon with what is going on in the world at the time the novel takes place.

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