Gene Forrester’s Character Development The quote “Envy is ignorance; imitation is suicide,” (Emerson 370) accurately describes Gene Forrester from “A Separate Peace”. John Knowles is the author of “A Separate Peace” and it is set in New Hampshire at Devon High. Gene Forrester is not your normal protagonist; he thinks his best friend Phineas is “out to get him” and he eventually grows to envy him. He used to conform to Finny in the beginning, but he later grows into his own character.
In John Knowles’ novel, A Separate Peace, the main character, Gene Forrester, undergoes a traumatic journey to develop the aspects necessary for coping through adulthood. This novel is a flashback to the year of 1942, when Gene attends his final year at Devon High School, in New Hampshire. Although Gene appears to be Finny’s best friend, he follows in Finny’s steps so that his personality clones to be like Finny’s. Finny exposes new experiences that provoke Gene’s development into adulthood. As Gene engages in new experiences, he soon realizes that he envies Finny’s abilities.
The lack of innocence is indicated throughout A Separate Peace, by Gene’s involvement in adult ways. Most vividly, it is shown by Gene’s intentional choices to hurt Finny, the beginning of the Winter Session, and the Devon men’s engagement in World War II. For Gene, innocence was lost quickly. However, for others, innocence can be held onto for a long time, disappearing much more gradually. In the end, innocence cannot be held onto forever.
Devon, an elite boarding school, is highly competitive, forcing students to have envy for one another. In the story Gene’s envy for Finny is a constant theme throughout the book. Working little for his goals, it can be seen that Finny gets everything he wants using his persuasion and athletic abilities . As Finny’s friend it is easy to feel pushed away from the spotlight. Gene thinks everything he does with Finny is a competition.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that, “envy is ignorance; imitation is suicide.” (370). John Knowles’ A Separate Peace is set during World War I at Devon School, a boarding school for boys. The book centers on Gene Forrester, a student at Devon, who could be described as an intelligent, but jealous, conformist. A Separate Peace illustrates Gene’s envy and imitation of his friend, Finny, and how it affects himself and his relationship with Finny, and also how Gene eventually finds peace.
Rivalry and Its Positive Impact on Personal Growth Rivalry in all of its forms contributes to personal growth, even in extreme cases where the opposing party is debilitated or annihilated, where the consequences force the remaining party to overcome this loss and continue to adapt to the situation. Using the novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles as the basis for the argument, Gene, the arguable antagonist is molded from an innocent schoolboy to an individual that begins to view the world outside of the confines of his academy of study. Starting from the beginning, Gene had misinterpreted his best friend, Finny’s friendly intentions as attempting to undermine him and begins this one-sided rivalry. Recognizing that he could not beat Finny in the realm of athletics, Gene seeks to improve his school marks, and raise himself up on a pillar of his own
In literature, mostly all of the central characters undergo a meaningful change because of a choice he or she made.“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”( Roy T.Bennett). In a Separate Peace , it tells the story of Gene’s change from being innocent and making atrocious decisions, to adulthood. At the beginning of the novel, Gene is guiltless and unconcerned, he is an exemplary student with few preoccupations such as studying and being friends with Finny.However, as the novel advances, Gene cultivates another side of his personality. One with dark motives and a great deal of jealousy. One choice, a
In John Knowles, fictional novel, A Separate Peace, he uses internal conflict to ensure the reader’s understanding of a true friendship. Gene brings Finny’s suitcase to the infirmary, and the boys finally talk about the accident. Finny is an emotional mess and begins to cry. He asks Gene, “It was just some blind impulse you had in the tree there, you didn’t know what you were doing. Was that it” (191)?
Gene believes that Finny and he hate each other, until he realizes Finny’s pureness, which Gene can not stand. At first, Gene believes that Finny wants to exceed him, and that the two are rivals. Everyone at Devon likes Finny. The teachers adore him, the students look up to him, the athletes aspire
The friendship Gene and Finny have throughout the story slowly changes to envy that Gene portrays towards Finny as a result of his jealousy. Finny is only one of those sort of gentlemen that is extremely understood and individuals truly like. However, Finny is the kind of individual who is great at everything including sports and talking himself out of trouble. For example, Finny breaking the school swimming recorded lead to Gene being desirous. Gene predicts that Finny is attempting to show off his athletic ability.
Charles Kuralt once said, “ The love of family and the admirations of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.” This quote shows how jealousy and popularity aren’t as important as relationships in your life. In the book, A Separate Peace, Gene has different priorities than relationships. Gene, a young boy who attends Devon boarding school, goes through many different trials along his grade school journey. He faces problems with friends and school life during the time of World War two and the draft being in full swing.
The author, John Knowles, in the novel, “A Separate Peace”, conveys the lesson of friendship, or rather the lack of, with his use of diction. The strategy in which the author phrased certain sections of dialogue between Finny and Gene is there to show that Finny cares for Gene despite Gene’s obvious discontent. The friendship is a one-way street, and the author uses diction to represent this unbalance in the relationship, leading to friendship being a key theme throughout the book. There exist many examples of this diction throughout the novel, one of these is during their illegal beach trip. “I hope you’re having a pretty good time here.
Towards the beginning of the novel, Finny’s strengths include his ability to stay optimistic, even after his life-threatening accident. When Finny converses with Gene afterwards, he tells Gene “Listen, pal, if I can’t play sports, you’re going to play them for me…” (Knowles 85). Even after being told he probably won’t have the ability to walk again, a point one could describe as the lowest and most depressing of his life, Finny maintains his zest for life.
In result of the accident he faces many bumps in the road and he does not know how to properly handle them. Constantly, Finny was a confident charming person until the accident which makes him a dynamic character. The end of the book supports this because Finny is a completely different person before he dies than in the beginning of the book. One of the many things that changed in Finny's life was his friendship with Gene. This quote shows one of the many themes in this book, Friendship.
Friendship A Separate Peace has a very unique description of friendship. Throughout the book, Gene is jealous of Finny’s looks and what he is able to do. Gene has a lot of ambivalent feelings toward Finny. He wants to be Finny, but at the same time he is jealous of him.