A Separate Peace Envy Analysis

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Envy can cause betrayal. In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, teenage feelings of envy, friendship, and betrayal bubble up at Devon, an all-boys boarding school in New England. Two boys, Gene and Finny are the opposite of each other: Gene is a studious, diligent student, while Finny is fun-loving and athletic. Knowles juxtaposes the pureness of Finny to portray the “savage” side of Gene (Knowles 145). The boys’ differences do not keep them apart, however, for they are roommates and Phineas considers Gene his “best pal” (48). In the real world, World War II is occurring while Finny secretly tries to enlist in the military, although with his broken leg he will not be able to participate. Gene feels an enormous amount of sorrow for jouncing the limb of a tree when Finny and him were on it, causing Finny to fall. Gene cannot face his sense of responsibility and get rid of his guilt. Gene is not a bad person, he has a conscience, and feels remorse, but he cannot face the part of himself deep down inside that…show more content…
Gene and Finny are best pals since the day they met at Devon, but betrayal of one another destroys their friendship. "It's you, pal," Finny said to me at last, "just you and me." (18). Finny and Gene were suppose to be the best of friends, however betrayal consumes them. Finny did forgive Gene for jouncing the limb and not being there for him when he fell down the staircase in Devon like a good friend would have. Gene would grieve for a long time without getting Finny’s forgiveness, for he felt very guilty. He got Finny’s remission before he passed away sadly. “Now I knew that there never was and never could have been any rivalry between us” (59). Gene realizes that the accusations in his mind about Finny trying to sabotage him were false. Gene has accepted both his own guilt and the gift of Finny's friendship. This experience has helped him to grow into an insightful young
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