Pessimism and sorrow cohesive with war and malice lie in deception to create a ruse for innocent individuals. A Separate Peace is a pessimistic novel due its involvement with war, malice, and sorrow. This is due to its revolution around World War II, Gene’s malice towards Finny, and a murder caused by an unlikely source.
The novel A Separate Peace written by John Knowles exhibits a unique friendship between two teenagers, Phineas and Gene Forrester which takes a turn for the worst to turn into a silent one sided war of jealousy that ends in regret. The film created by Peter Yates is a good attempt at exhibiting the same storyline as the novel, but falls short of the clarity displaying major differences which makes the understanding of the storyline difficult and less enjoyable. Two major points affecting the storyline by setting and plot event include the chapter in which Phineas passes away, along with the part where he is taken to the infirmary which results in major differences in the film.
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. Gene comes of age through his understanding of the difficult challenges in his youth.
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)?
Guilt is a funny concept, that has a different affects on different people. Guilt can cause some to confess and it releases the burden, but for those who take long to confess, it can turn into a negative reaction that can cripple your emotions. A Separate Peace is set in a boarding school in New England. Gene, a main character, is an incisive introvert whose best friend, Phineas, is a handsome athlete. When an accident occurs over the Summer, that leaves Gene and Finny hurt in some way, what comes next could take a toll on their friendship. Dismissive and harmful effects of guilt are all around Gene. These effects caused Gene to lose confidence, and lose his ability to grow as a person.
Adulthood: for many not part of it, it is seen as a scary, foreign world. The moment one leaves the safety of childhood to become an adult varies between people and cultures. For Gene Forrester, the protagonist in the coming-of-age novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles, adulthood begins with the fall of his friend, Phineas. Set at New Hampshire’s Devon Prep School during the years of 1942-1943, A Separate Peace follows Gene and Phineas until they reach maturity. The moment that Phineas falls from the tree symbolizes when Gene falls from innocence.
The author of An Overview of “A Separate Peace” says that, “he reaches this atmosphere only after separating himself from Phineas and finding his own identity,” (Alton). When Gene had been focused on becoming just like Finny, he was not at peace. However, when Gene starts constructing and discovering his own identity, he has a complete burden lifted from his shoulders, therefore finding his peace. To conclude, Gene finds peace by realizing that Phineas was not the enemy and by finding his own
A loving friend turns murderer after his retched jealousness and overanalyzing pushes him to new lows. In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the true character of Gene Forrester is shown as he narrates his point of view of the story. Gene Forrester is a relatable ever changing, humanistic, and someone who is always in contention.
Many people think of their best friends, and they are happy to see them, want to do things with them, and are just generally glad to have them around. However, in John Knowles’s A Separate Peace, this is not the case with friends Phineas and Gene. In this novel, Knowles uses the protagonist, Gene forrester, to help show how betrayal can ruin friendships. He uses many techniques, including foreshadowing, figurative language, and symbolism.
“Our minds are a battle ground between good and bad ideas; we are whatever side wins the battle” Bangambiki Habyarimana, The Great Pearl of Wisdom. The struggle between good and evil is found universally. In the novel A Separate Peace, Gene Forrester struggles between his own inner good and evil. Gene's actions often reflect his feelings, leading him to trouble, giving the illusion that Gene is filled with more evil than good. However, Gene's goodness can be found even through dark times.
Strength develops in someone through their experiences which have the ability to make them an emotionally stronger person. A quote by Ernest Hemingway presents that “the world breaks everyone, then some become strong at the broken places.” Even those who suffer the most will have the ability to bounce back at a stronger state. This theme reveals its relevance in A Separate Peace by John Knowles as we analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the main characters, Finny and Gene. Although some may insist that Finny’s emotional state fits the mold of a weak character, I have confidence that Finny has the most inner strength out of the two boys given his description and actions throughout the novel.
When Gene “sees dawn for the first time” at the beach with Finny, he sees himself. Gene, like dawn “was not as (he) had expected, but as a strange gray thing” (41). Surprised at what he finds, Gene’s witnessing of the sunrise that morning represents his progression; at first “gray”, and confused, then with “midnight green,” for his envy of Phineas, then “gray-white” when he sees himself, and finally “pure white” after he has confronts himself and becomes “Phineas-filled”. After watching the sunrise, Gene goes into the water.
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.
In John Knowles’s novel A Separate Peace Identity is shown as what defines us and makes us be placed in other peoples perspectives. An author can use identity to place characters in the readers mind to portray them a certain way, just as John Knowles did in A Separate peace. An identity can be defined as who a person is inside and out.
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.