A Separate Peace Gene Character Analysis

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What is morality? The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “a particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society.” In the book A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the two main characters, Gene and Finny have very different moral attitudes. Gene’s morals are realistic and applicable to the real world while Finny’s are honorable, righteous, and ideal, but lack a sense of reality and as a result, he is unable to accept the truth about human nature, and ends up with serious consequences. Although Finny is extremely righteous and honorable, his ethics lack a sense of reality and as a result, he ends up with serious consequences. Gene is a person who always plays by the rules and this shows that …show more content…

Gene seeks authority’s formal acknowledgements and has a competitive nature. Although not as righteous and honorable as Finny, Gene’s mentality is more oriented for success; because in life, one cannot succeed if he or she is never recognized. Gene’s competitiveness eventually enters his relationship with Finny. Gene starts to envy Finny and he begins “keeping score.” In Gene’s mind, Finny is now his enemy. Gene then adopts the idea that Finny is trying to make Gene fail at school by taking him away from his studies so that he will be on the same level as Gene with school. Upon “discovering” this, Gene says to himself, “Finny had deliberately set out to wreck my studies.” Gene has no problem accusing Finny of this hostile act. Gene, unlike Finny, is aware of the evil in people and, although incorrect, comes to this assumption and although his assumption is incorrect, it is a realistic possibility. In life, people will try to harm you if it means benefiting themselves and Gene’s defensive and competitive nature make him well-prepared for the world. Gene sees Finny as his enemy, and instinctively believes he and Finny are competitors. As he himself is corrupt, he is able to see the wickedness of the …show more content…

You damn fool. Sit down, you damn fool.’” Gene tries to tell Finny the truth about the “accident” but Finny refuses to accept it. Finny cannot believe that Gene made him fall because he is incapable of seeing the evil that surrounds him. He thinks that a person, especially a person who he loves, is incapable of such evil. Finny is living in his own utopia and when he finally does accept the truth, he ends up getting injured. During the mock trial, after leper explains what happened at the tree, Finny angrily stormed out of the room, “‘Wait a minute!’ cried Brinker. ‘We haven’t heard everything yet. We haven’t got all the facts!’ The words shocked Phineas into awareness. He whirled as though being attacked from behind. ‘You get the rest of the facts, Brinker!’ he cried. ‘You get all your facts!’ I had never seen Finny crying, ‘You collect every f—ing fact there is in the world!’ He plunged out the doors. The excellent exterior acoustics recorded his rushing steps and the quick rapping of his cane along the corridor and on the first steps of the marble stairway. Then these separate sounds collided into the general tumult of his body falling clumsily down the white marble stairs.” By not accepting the hideous truth when Gene told him, Finny sets himself up for destruction. During the mock trial Finny is forced to accept the truth and when he does, his reaction results in him breaking his leg and eventually his death. For Finny, everyone was a

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