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Hi, I am working on an essay and am kinda new to this. If I post my essay here, can I get live critiques on it and some advice/suggestions? Thanks and here it is: English A Separate Peace
Confucius said, “Real knowledge is knowing the extent of one’s ignorance.” In this sense, many people seem to lack wisdom. How the characters of A Separate Peace by John Knowles allow their circumstances to control their lives defines their maturity, and thus, their growing up. Leper goes clinically insane and doesn’t mature, only ages. Finny was physically incapable of growing up; this cost him his life. Gene used his disregard of understanding as a tool to help him develop and come out stronger. In this book, growing up predominantly consists of gaining knowledge as it was defined by Confucius.
Leper found out that there were ski troops in war and decided to enroll. In order to leave properly, he would have a level eight discharge, due to insanity. Instead he escaped and lived on in hiding. He knew he was insane and that prevented him from growing up. As Martin Luther King said, “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” This applies to Leper because he knew his faults but it did not mean he could change them. Earlier in the story Leper told Gene and Phineas that, “I’m almost glad this war came along. It’s like a test, isn’t it, and only the things and the people who’ve been evolving the right way survive,” (125), which is ironic because he did not actually end up evolving to his surroundings; he let them mold him, as he says later on: “The army has the perfect word for everything, did you ever think of that?...And the perfect word for me…psycho. I guess I am...” (149).
Finny was the happy go lucky sports superstar who lived in his own world where everything was perfect. He lived in the clouds in a surreal world where everyone was good. He embodied the Japanese Shizaru proverb: “See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil,” in the sense that he was not sure anything bad could happen. This world comes crashing down with him when Gene jounces the tree limb. He falls two different ways in that split second: literally out of the tree and metaphorically back to reality. He had to die based on the fact he was incapable of indulging this hard and fast entrance to reality. He refused to believe it had happened and was not able to mature and overcome that the world is flawed. In a conversation with Gene, he stated falsely, “Of course you didn’t do it. You damn fool.” (70). His ignorance got the best of him and he died, not willing to accept the truth.
Gene is a socially awkward boy with good grades and fair sports abilities (although nothing worth comparing to Finny). He is a little self-conscious in the sense that he believes everyone to be out to get him. After pushing Finny he realized what he did was wrong, but he also had an epiphany after he tried to talk to Phineas: ignorance is bliss. When Finny refused to believe this was by Gene, he himself went along with it and felt peaceful. He used the magical world of his best friend’s imagination as an outlet. Did he know his own ignorance? Yes. Did he realize his mistakes and learned his own defects through time? Yes. This all made him stronger morally and emotionally. He was the only one of the three that came out with maturity and confidence. He even states this himself, “...now I was acquiring, I felt, a sense for my own real authority and worth, I had had many new experiences and I was growing up” (156). He found himself, understood his flaws and was able to correct them. By the given definition before, he has officially grown up.
In Knowles’ A Separate Peace, the war force the boys to grow up or grow ill. This system lead to the loss of Leper mentally and Finny physically, “We members of the Class of 1943 were moving very fast toward the war now, so fast that there were casualties even before we reached it, a mind was clouded and a leg was broken – maybe these should be thought of as minor and inevitable mishaps in the accelerating rush. The air around us was filled with much worse things” (187). While Gene came out on top. As Einstein puts it, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot.” And they were on their way to growing up and gaining knowledge through either education or experience. The little bits they learned cost them greatly.
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Hi,

What is the actual wording of your topic or question, please? Or did your teacher just say 'Write all you can about 'A Separate Peace'?

Clive
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Hi, the actual wording is as so: Readers often define A Separate Peace as a novel about growing up. What does the novel show about the process of growing up? How does Knowles define what it means to grow up?
Hi,

The first thing I always look for in an essay is structure. I don't see that in yours.
eg Where do you give your overall answers to the questions, (your thesis statement)?
eg Where is the topic sentence for each body paragraph? In other words, at the start of each paragraph you need to tell the reader the reason you are writing the paragraph.
Have you learned about structure? If not, look here for some basic ideas.
http://homeworktips.about.com/od/essaywriting/a/fiveparagraph.htm

The next thing I look for is whether you have clearly answered the specific questions asked. Do you think you have? A lot of your essay seems to me more like you are retelling the story.

Clive
Hi Clive, Rhett here. I took your advice and I bolded my edits. Here is the new version, could you give me a follow up review? Thanks again.

English A Separate Peace
Confucius said, “Real knowledge is knowing the extent of one’s ignorance.” In this sense, many people seem to lack wisdom. The novel demonstrates different executions of the process of growing up and how you get ready for reality. How the characters of A Separate Peace by John Knowles allow their circumstances to control their lives defines their maturity, and thus, their growing up. Leper goes clinically insane and doesn’t mature, only ages. Finny was physically incapable of growing up; this cost him his life. Gene used his disregard of understanding as a tool to help him develop and come out stronger. In this book, growing up predominantly consists of gaining knowledge as it was defined by Confucius.
Leper’s delirium prevents him from properly growing up and being able to handle the real world. Leper found out that there were ski troops in war and decided to enroll. In order to leave properly, he would have a level eight discharge, due to insanity. Instead he escaped and lived on in hiding. He knew he was insane and that prevented him from growing up. As Martin Luther King said, “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” This applies to Leper because he knew his faults but it did not mean he could change them. Earlier in the story Leper told Gene and Phineas that, “I’m almost glad this war came along. It’s like a test, isn’t it, and only the things and the people who’ve been evolving the right way survive,” (125), which is ironic because he did not actually end up evolving to his surroundings; he let them mold him, as he says later on: “The army has the perfect word for everything, did you ever think of that?...And the perfect word for me…psycho. I guess I am...” (149).
Phineas died before he was even given a chance to grow up, once it finally occurred to him that not everything is sublime. Finny was the happy go lucky sports superstar who lived in his own world where everything was perfect. He lived in the clouds in a surreal world where everyone was good. He embodied the Japanese Shizaru proverb: “See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil,” in the sense that he was not sure anything bad could happen. This world comes crashing down with him when Gene jounces the tree limb. He falls two different ways in that split second: literally out of the tree and metaphorically back to reality. He had to die based on the fact he was incapable of indulging this hard and fast entrance to reality. He refused to believe it had happened and was not able to mature and overcome that the world is flawed. In a conversation with Gene, he stated falsely, “Of course you didn’t do it. You damn fool.” (70). His ignorance got the best of him and he died, not willing to accept the truth.
Gene, although he has his rough patches, he grew up to be a businessman. Early on in the book he references an escape; this turned out to be his realization of the fact he primed with age. Gene is a socially awkward boy with good grades and fair sports abilities (although nothing worth comparing to Finny). He is a little self-conscious in the sense that he believes everyone to be out to get him. After pushing Finny he realized what he did was wrong, but he also had an epiphany after he tried to talk to Phineas: ignorance is bliss. When Finny refused to believe this was by Gene, he himself went along with it and felt peaceful. He used the magical world of his best friend’s imagination as an outlet. Did he know his own ignorance? Yes. Did he realize his mistakes and learned his own defects through time? Yes. This all made him stronger morally and emotionally. He was the only one of the three that came out with maturity and confidence. He even states this himself, “...now I was acquiring, I felt, a sense for my own real authority and worth, I had had many new experiences and I was growing up” (156). He found himself, understood his flaws and was able to correct them. By the given definition before, he has officially grown up.
In Knowles’ A Separate Peace, the war force the boys to grow up or grow ill. This system lead to the loss of Leper mentally and Finny physically, “We members of the Class of 1943 were moving very fast toward the war now, so fast that there were casualties even before we reached it, a mind was clouded and a leg was broken – maybe these should be thought of as minor and inevitable mishaps in the accelerating rush. The air around us was filled with much worse things” (187). Knowles defined growing up as finding yourself through different experiences, as Gene mentions on p.156. While Gene came out on top. As Einstein puts it, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot.” And they were on their way to growing up and gaining knowledge through either education or experience. The little bits they learned cost them greatly.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Hi,

I took your advice and I bolded my edits. Here is the new version, could you give me a follow up review? Thanks again.

Readers often define A Separate Peace as a novel about growing up. What does the novel show about the process of growing up? How does Knowles define what it means to grow up?

You need to answer these questions by having very clear statements in your introduction like

The novel shows that the process of growing up is . . . . .

The author defines what it means to grow up as . . . . .

English A Separate Peace
Confucius said, “Real knowledge is knowing the extent of one’s ignorance.” In this sense, many people seem to lack wisdom. The novel demonstrates different executions of the process of growing up and how you get ready for reality. How the characters of A Separate Peace by John Knowles allow their circumstances to control their lives defines their maturity, and thus, their growing up. Leper goes clinically insane and doesn’t mature, only ages. Finny was physically incapable of growing up; this cost him his life. Gene used his disregard of understanding as a tool to help him develop and come out stronger. In this book, growing up predominantly consists of gaining knowledge as it was defined by Confucius.
Leper’s delirium prevents him from properly growing up and being able to handle the real world. Leper found out that there were ski troops in war and decided to enroll. In order to leave properly, he would have a level eight discharge, due to insanity. Instead he escaped and lived on in hiding. He knew he was insane and that prevented him from growing up. As Martin Luther King said, “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” This applies to Leper because he knew his faults but it did not mean he could change them. Earlier in the story Leper told Gene and Phineas that, “I’m almost glad this war came along. It’s like a test, isn’t it, and only the things and the people who’ve been evolving the right way survive,” (125), which is ironic because he did not actually end up evolving to his surroundings; he let them mold him, as he says later on: “The army has the perfect word for everything, did you ever think of that?...And the perfect word for me…psycho. I guess I am...” (149).

Don't put all this detail in your introduction. Introduce the main questions, give your overall answers, and explain briefly what are the main points that you will go on to discuss.

Phineas died before he was even given a chance to grow up, once it finally occurred to him that not everything is sublime. Say why you are going to discuss this. How dos it relate to the topic questions? Which one does it relate to? Finny was the happy go lucky sports superstar who lived in his own world where everything was perfect. He lived in the clouds in a surreal world where everyone was good. He embodied the Japanese Shizaru proverb: “See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil,” in the sense that he was not sure anything bad could happen. This world comes crashing down with him when Gene jounces the tree limb. He falls two different ways in that split second: literally out of the tree and metaphorically back to reality. He had to die based on the fact he was incapable of indulging this hard and fast entrance to reality. He refused to believe it had happened and was not able to mature and overcome that the world is flawed. In a conversation with Gene, he stated falsely, “Of course you didn’t do it. You damn fool.” (70). His ignorance got the best of him and he died, not willing to accept the truth.
Gene, although he has his rough patches, he grew up to be a businessman. Early on in the book he references an escape; this turned out to be his realization of the fact he primed with age. Say why you are going to discuss this. How dos it relate to the topic questions? Which one does it relate to? Gene is a socially awkward boy with good grades and fair sports abilities (although nothing worth comparing to Finny). He is a little self-conscious in the sense that he believes everyone to be out to get him. After pushing Finny he realized what he did was wrong, but he also had an epiphany after he tried to talk to Phineas: ignorance is bliss. When Finny refused to believe this was by Gene, he himself went along with it and felt peaceful. He used the magical world of his best friend’s imagination as an outlet. Did he know his own ignorance? Yes. Did he realize his mistakes and learned his own defects through time? Yes. This all made him stronger morally and emotionally. He was the only one of the three that came out with maturity and confidence. He even states this himself, “...now I was acquiring, I felt, a sense for my own real authority and worth, I had had many new experiences and I was growing up” (156). He found himself, understood his flaws and was able to correct them. By the given definition before, he has officially grown up.


Restate the two topic questions, and clearly state your overall answer to both. Don't talk about details, or introduce points not already discussed.
In Knowles’ A Separate Peace, the war force the boys to grow up or grow ill. This system lead to the loss of Leper mentally and Finny physically, “We members of the Class of 1943 were moving very fast toward the war now, so fast that there were casualties even before we reached it, a mind was clouded and a leg was broken – maybe these should be thought of as minor and inevitable mishaps in the accelerating rush. The air around us was filled with much worse things” (187). Knowles defined growing up as finding yourself through different experiences, as Gene mentions on p.156. While Gene came out on top. As Einstein puts it, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot.” And they were on their way to growing up and gaining knowledge through either education or experience. The little bits they learned cost them greatly.


Sorry, but this is not a good essay. It reads as if you did not make a good plan in point form before you started to write.

I see no real attempt to answer the questions.

You can have good structure and write good essays if you first make a good plan that tries to answer he questions.

Clive