The Tree of Panic in A Separate Peace


  • Judy Sansom Fort Hays State University



With the growth in popularity of young adult (YA) literature over the past few decades, novels such as John Knowles's 1959 classic A Separate Peace deserve to be analyzed for typical YA themes, such as sexuality, identity, dysfunctional family units, and coming of age motifs. This paper evaluates A Separate Peace from a queer theory perspective while analyzing symbolic elements and themes. By examining these YA themes, teachers can offer fresh perspectives while teaching classic novels that have withstood the test of time.


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Author Biography

  • Judy Sansom, Fort Hays State University
    Judy Sansom is a first year graduate student at Fort Hays State University where she received her Bachelor's Degree in Literature. In addition to being a Graduate Teaching Assistant, she serves as the President of the Rho Psi Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta. This paper was presented at the 2018 National Sigma Tau Delta Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio. She can be reached at






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