Although many similarities exist between A Turn with the Sun and A Separate Peace, both written by John Knowles, the works are more dissimilar than alike. A Separate Peace is a novel about the struggle of a senior class in the face of World War II, and it focuses on two best friends, Gene Forrester and Phineas. A Turn with the Sun is about a young man who struggles to fit in as a freshman in the closed microcosm of a senior dominated school who struggles, vainly, to make a name for himself.
Knowles wrote A Turn with the Sun in the third person. His character, Lawrence is trying to make a name for himself as an underclassman. He suffers from a poor self image, as "Lawrence sensed once again that he was helplessly sliding back, into the foggy social bottom-land where unacceptable first-year boys dwell." (A Turn with the Sun:12) He sees his achievements and failures as analogous to his worth as a person. He feels that he is a failure, yet is thankful th...