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In the novel A Separate Peace, the author, John Knowies, conveys through various characters that ignorance facilitates the process of convalescence.

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Introduction

Something Ignorant in the Human Heart: Ignorance is Essential for Convalescence in John Knowies' A Separate Peace "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, then success and good health is sure." - Mark Twain The process of convalescence is often filled with turmoil and pain. At times, it is beneficial for the convalescent to be conscious of the details surrounding the ordeal they are going through. Regardless of this occasionally truth, if the person recuperating could be spared significant pain and suffering, would it not be better for them to be somewhat ignorant of the circumstances or conditions that would exacerbate this? Obtaining knowledge in this particular case might actually cause more harm then good. It is a scientific fact that additional stress and worry can not only slow or even stop recovery, but it can actually set into motion a series of physiological reactions that actually worsen a person's original condition and catalyze the onset of new illnesses. This does not mean that the person in question should remain oblivious; perhaps the reality of their situation simply needs to be revealed in manageable portions and with a unique perspective. In the novel A Separate Peace, the author, John Knowies', conveys through various characters that ignorance facilitates the process of convalescence. ...read more.

Middle

In the end, it was Phineas' lapse in ignorance that resulted in his death. On the same night that Finny "found out" (pg. 142) that his physical disability would stop him from participating in the war, he fell down the flight of stairs, breaking his leg again. Phineas did not want to know "every damn fact there is in the world" (pg. 153). Brinker made him realize there were "rocklike facts" (pg. 174) and Phineas' blissful ignorance was momentarily compromised and in need of protection. Moments later, while trying to escape, he fell down the stairs, broke his leg and died the next morning. For Phineas, ignorance was the key to his physical recovery and the loss of this state resulted in his death. Leper was a character who demonstrated the need for ignorance and the result of losing this valuable state. Leper began as an oblivious, serene, content and healthy boy. Only after he left the "separate peace" (pg. 119) that was the Devon campus, and was abruptly shaken out of his ignorance by the harsh realities of war, did he became mentally unstable. The first real encounter with Leper that took place in the book was when he was "touring skiing" (pg. 82). Leper wanted to leisurely enjoy nature by "not going anywhere" (pg. ...read more.

Conclusion

87) commenced. Though he was ignorant of his own problems, by acting as though he were Phineas and remaining oblivious to who he really was, Gene created a new and improved personality. Finally, after Phineas died, Gene was still in the process of dealing with his twisted mental state. Fifteen years later, he was obviously was not better. The man he became was haunted by past mistakes, however, he did admit to only feeling "fear's echo" (pg. 10) and now had experiences of "unhinged, uncontrollable joy" (pg. 10). Gene would have never reached this point without "sizing up the world with erratic and entirely personal reservations" (pg. 174) and remaining partly ignorant until he was able to handle knowledge about himself. Gene managed to begin his convalescence by embracing ignorance. John Knowies' made it evident that without a certain amount of ignorance, the process of convalesce would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. This was seen in Phineas' ignorant manner that promoted the aura of health that he had even after becoming crippled. Leper unfortunately lost his oblivious demeanor, and with it, his mental health. Gene, by being unable to deal with his own defect, embraced ignorance which allowed him to become a much better person. Many treat ignorance as a primitive, undeveloped and utterly unacceptable state; Knowies' in his novel A Separate Peace, shows that perhaps this is not so, ignorance can promote convalescence. ...read more.

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