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A Separate Peace

Essay Topics & Scoring Guide

NAME: _________________ Due date: Fri.


SCORING GUIDE: Attach this page to your essay, for scoring. Your 350-to-500-word essay will be scored as follows: I. CONTENT / ORGANIZATION (75 points) ____ /25 pts. INTRODUCTION: You will need an introduction that clearly introduces your topic/prompt and novel, overall, in a creative, specific way. Your thesis will be the last sentence of the introduction. It needs to summarize the question you have chosen and address what your paper is about, overall. ____/25 pts. BODY: The body of the essay should prove your thesis. You will use a minimum of three quotations from the novel to support your thesis. Each quotation should have a proper introduction, followed by explanation and analysis. Quotations will be analyzed and linked back to the thesis. Connections will be made. ____/25 pts. CONCLUSION: Your conclusion will tie all the ideas in the essay together. II. GRAMMAR/USAGE: Word Choice, fluency, conventions (25 points) ____/25 pts. Proper attention to spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, etc. will be evident. Run-on sentences and fragments will be avoided.

DIRECTIONS: First, read ALL of the following prompts carefully; then CHOOSE ONE for your essay analysis of the novel. After you make your choice, re-read all parts of your prompt several times. You should be sure to cover or answer all parts of the prompt in your overall essay, but it is NOT recommended that you directly answer each question or part of the prompt separately. Keep in mind that the questions within the prompt are there to make you think about your topic and help you formulate an overall thesis that will guide your paper.
1. Throughout the first part of the book Gene is in a constant battle with himself about the nature of his friendship/rivalry with Finny. At times he feels that they are bonded by competition and deep enmity. Other times he feels that Finny is a sincere, honest, and true friend. After Finnys injury and return to school, Gene feels it is his duty to protect Finny and enforce Finnys ideas, beliefs, and goals -- even if it means not following through on his plans to enlist or with personal goals. Considering Genes descriptions of the events in the novel, his descriptions of Finny, and his descriptions of their relationship, argue whether or not Finny is a good friend to Gene -- or if Gene would be better off without Finny in his life. What statement is Knowles making about friendship? Were they ever really friends? 2. At the end of the novel Gene says, Wars were made instead by something ignorant in the human heart. Considering these lines, what was the war that Gene waged in the novel, and why was it based on ignorance? Consider how ignorance usually is attributed to the mind, not the heart. Why would Gene attribute it to the heart? What does he learn from his war, and ultimately how is it resolved? 3. There is quite a bit of symbolism in the novel. There is symbolism relating to the characters names, the war, and the Bible. For this essay, relate how the Devon School environment symbolizes the Garden of Eden, and explore the significance of the symbolism in relation to the themes in the novel. If you choose this option you need to address the significance and statement Knowles is making through the symbolism, NOT simply show that it is present. 4. Throughout the book, Gene is associated with bitterness, rivalry, complicacy, and competence. In contrast, Finny is associated with strength, power, goodness, and excellence. Yet, it is Finny who dies and Gene who lives. Considering both characters, write an essay about the strengths and weaknesses in both boys, arguing who is the weaker character. Was it Finnys naivety that destroyed him, or Genes jealousy? Consider the statement Knowles is making about strength and survival through these young men. What does it

take to survive in a modern world?