War On Youth In John Knowles's A Separate Peace

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As the thought of a second world war became a reality, Americans found themselves in a state of apprehension. Once the U.S. declared they were joining the fight, the draft age was lowered to 18, and adolescents across the nation were left with the decision to either enlist or wait to be drafted. John Knowles captures the anxiety of teenagers moments before the war in his 1959 novel A Separate Peace. He depicts the effects of the war on youth with the progression of decisions certain characters make throughout the novel. Characters’ traits begin to descend into a negative state, displaying the unfortunate reality of the youth of the time period. In addition, the interactions between characters begin to alter as the pressures of war intensify. Knowles accurately portrays the harsh impact of World War II on teenagers through the transformation of characters’ actions, characteristics, and relationships. As the reality of war becomes more surreal, the characters make decisions that represent the future soldier inside of them instead of their true, complete self. After a video of heroic and…show more content…
Since the beginning of its existence, America has struggled to acknowledge the brutality and destructive nature of war. In the real world, Leper’s Section 8 discharge from the war would have potentially caused his homelessness due to the inability to find a job with such a discharge as well as the ostracizing of “psychotic” veterans. Even today, U.S. veterans are often treated with disrespect and in 2017, more than 40,000 veterans experienced homelessness (“Homeless Veterans”). Wars impact thousands of lives in many harsh ways and in order to serve those affected justice, society needs to acknowledge their circumstances as well as the destructiveness of the

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