The isolated campus of Devon is free of war, and where war is not in attendance peace must have presence. A separate peace is a serene environment or object of interest in which an individual places his trust, confiding his most precious secrets or daring achievements. However, whenever someone truly finds their “separate peace,” they lock a part of their heart into this item or area of choice. In the novel, A Separate Peace, the author places young Gene Forrester into the shoes of a most troubled protagonist. This young man becomes friends with the darning athlete, Phineas, forming a bond that lasts until Gene unfortunately has to attend the funeral of his best friend. Gene and Phineas both place immense trust in each other, which is risky for teens being raised in a military school during this time. Devon is separate from the war, just as Finny is separate from all traits negative in nature. Gene places part of his heart–metaphorically– into Finny, and thus when the boy dies he loses his own identity. He is no longer the “companion of Phineas” or the delinquent who shadows the mastermind of every broken rule, but instead is perceived as only Gene.
A Separate Peace can be taken in two completely different perspectives. Through the eyes of an optimist “a separate peace” is the peace found in the small matters of life, especially when hardships continue to endure and antagonize. However, with the eyes of a realist the title signifies the truth that is illuminated throughout the story: Gene places a trust in Phineas that could never last, and thus whenever he loses his friend the world goes dark and he no longer flows through life, but is clouded with mud and dirt, one and the same with the Naguamsett.
“Peace had deserted Devon” (ch 6)