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Making Peace with Literature

During my adolescent years I took the strong will to venture towards high

esteemed and intricate novels that would enhance my knowledge as well as reading

capabilities. One book however was very difficult for me to grasp thus leading to its

passing of my interest. After reading Nabokov’s article about rereading literature, I

discovered that rereading A Separate Peace in a more mature state will help me to cope

with the understanding of the theme and appreciation of the writing.

The overall maturity and wisdom that comes along in growth determines that a

person is more inclined to understand a book in the present than in his youth. In my

youth, I struggled to find “a combination of the artistic and scientific” (Nabokov) reader.

I wanted to retain an artistic and opinionated view but also a patient and literary judgment

on the novel. I could maintain the appreciation of each novel I read however a book that

seemed harder to fathom would discourage me from further involvement. Although I

tried to understand every novel I read, some books would cause my mind to become

“utterly devoid of passion and patience” (Nabokov). The grammar and literary devices

used in the more intricate books I read consisted of things I did not learn in my previous

years. Literary and comprehensive growth was necessary for me to understand the terms

and devices used. As one gets older, such growth is inevitable and will make readers

more liable to understand different novels.

As a result of maturity in literary knowledge since reading A Separate Peace,

grammar and literary components within the novel will be better comprehended. During

my time reading a separate peace, I could not understand the “three points of view from
which a writer” (Nabokov) like Knowles was trying to convey. I understood the

storyteller side of him however further knowledge and appreciation did not set in. Since I

could not determine all the points of view of the author I could not appreciate the writing

in all its entirety. Now that my reading can surmount greater literary challenges,

knowledge and appreciation will follow. I now understand that I must “try to grasp the

individual magic” and “study the style, the imagery, the pattern” (Nabokov) of the novels

I read. A novel should be read to gain knowledge and appreciation towards a different

literary style and detail. A good novel will contain both entertainment and fine literary

style leaving the reader in comfort and wisdom. My current maturity and understanding

of rereading will help me to benefit the most out of each book I come across.

Although books do not change, my wisdom and knowledge will forever. I cannot

expect to understand every book I read because I constantly gain intelligence. Rereading

throughout your growing years helps you to better understand the books you previously

read. One may not always show appreciation towards a piece of literature however you

may be surprised on how you feel about it as you age.

Work Cited

Nabokov, Vladimir. “Good Readers and Good Writers.” 1948.

Knowles, John. A Separate Peace.


New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1975.