What is a brief summary of A Separate Peace?


Quick Answer

"A Separate Peace" is a story about adolescence in the last years of the second World War. The story starts out as memories of the main character, Gene Forrester, who thinks back on his time at school, 15 years prior to the moment he is introduced into the story. The story covers life at school for Gene and some of his friends, the effects of the war on their lives and the transition to adulthood.

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Full Answer

The young men in this story face many of the same school trials and problems that teenagers in all decades can relate to. Gene is trying to up his grades while Finny is trying to get him more interested in sports. The differences between the two reach a point where Gene thinks that Finny is trying to sabotage his academic career. A set of events lead to Finny breaking his leg and Gene feeling guilty about it, even though it was an accident.

Gene considers enlisting in the army, which would give him a choice of posts unlike those who were drafted, but decides against it. After Finny's recovery he helps train Gene to participate in the 1944 Olympics. When someone else accuses Gene of hurting Finny on purpose it causes Finny to storm off and break his leg again, which needed more surgery. Complications with the surgery lead to Finny's death and Gene is left to accept life without his friend.

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