Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Comparing Maturity in Separate Peace and All Quiet on the Western Front :: comparison compare contrast essays

Maturity in A Separate Peace and All Quiet on the Western Front      Ã‚  Ã‚   The evolution of a child to adult is a long and complex process. There is another transitional step that goes in the middle of these two periods. In warlike terms, such as those used in the settings of Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front and John Knowles's A Separate Peace, that step could be classified as being a soldier. W.N. Hodgson acknowledges this progression as well, in the poem "Before Action." The speaker begs first for God to "make [him] a soldier" (line 8) and then once he is a soldier he asks God to "make [him] a man" (16). Soldiers aren't quite children anymore; they've seen too much pain, death, and horror to maintain their innocence as children do. However, they aren't really men yet either. In A Separate Peace and All Quiet on the Western Front, the characters all go through this process of growing up, where they begin as children and proceed on to being soldiers, finally emerging as strong, insightful men by the end of the book.    The characters in A Separate Peace are first seen as children. Gene and Phineas (or Finny), the main characters in A Separate Peace, are first portrayed as regular teenage boys, full of life, energy, and humor. Ready to find fun in everything, the boys even make games out of the war, including the "Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session" (Knowles 24) and "blitzball" (Knowles 29). They jump out of trees as a substitute for jumping out of a plane and throw a round ball around, pretending that it's a bomb. People perceive them as "careless and wild" and perhaps even "a sign of the life the war was being fought to preserve" (Knowles 17). They go through things that everyone experiences as a teen: jealousy, peer pressure, and competition. They don't know very much about the war or about life itself. Finny even blatantly denies the existence of the war, saying that "the fat old men who don't want [them] crowding up their jobs" have "cooked up this war fake" (Knowles 107). One of the b oys in their class, Leper, dreams of enlisting in the ski troops, seeing it as a safe, clean way to get involved in the war rather than having to kill and destroy.

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