The Envious Friend Jealously drives people to unthinkable and incomprehensible actions that is understood least of all by those responsible for it. John Knowles wrote a novel called A Separate Peace that takes place in New Hampshire. Gene, the narrator of A Separate Peace, is a conformist, genius, but envious southern boy that plays an important part in this novel. A Separate Peace depicts how Gene’s envy and imitation of Finny affect him, his relationship with Finny, and his achievement of peace.
Throughout “A Separate Peace” we learn that Gene is envious of Finny and essentially wants to be him. Gene is jealous that Finny is so popular, talented, and can get away with anything. Gene wants to see Finny get in trouble at least once for his actions. We see a prime example of Gene’s jealousy at the Headmasters’ Tea. Finny is talking to Mr. and Mrs. Patch-Withers about World War Two.
One of the other main points in the novel when rivalry was expressed, was when Gene shook the branch to make Finny fall off the tree. Gene was fed up with Finny succeeding at everything for once. He knew that if Finny were to be injured or hurt by the fall it would allow himself to have an edge on finny. Also, if Finny was crippled, Gene would have nothing to be jealous of anymore because Finny would become jealous of him. This would make Gene feel like the superior one in the relationship.
Literary Analysis: “The Scarlet Ibis” Why do people hurt the ones they love? Is it based off jealousy, selfishness, embarrassment, or even for pride? In the short story “The Scarlet Ibis” written by James Hurst, a boy named Doodle was not quite born the same as everyone else, he was incapable of walking, running, swimming, or fighting. His brother attempted to help him, but appeared to actually hurt him. The plot and conflict reveal the theme by conveying the question of why people injure loved ones.
Miro was just a cruel person, who has no conscious about his actions. Miro was a cruel person when he decided to chose his country over saving Artkin. He was a cruel person when he made kate believe that they were friends. As I read in the book, it stated that Miro had said he almost trusted a girl, he let his guard down , because he thought she was docile and helpless. He was being cruel when he had shot Kate because she distracting him by telling him Artkin was his father.
Before the injury, Gene would scream at Finny,but now he feels like he owes Finny his kindness. This passive and emotional Gene is probably the greatest evidence to show that Gene is a dynamic character. Before the injury when Finny would try to explain anything Gene would reply in annoyed tone, “‘Oh, for God sake.’ I slammed close the french book”(57). After the injury however Gene felt like he constantly had a space to fill to make Phineas feel better.
The war happening outside Devon represents the external and internal conflicts between the characters. An example is Gene’s inner conflict with jealousy when he says, “I was beginning to see that Phineas could get away with anything. I couldn't help envying him that a little, which was perfectly normal. There was no harm in envying even your best friend a little” (Knowles 25). Here, Gene is trying to justify his envy towards Finny, which could represent the justification of calamities in war.
Finny refused to believe that Gene caused him to fall from the tree. Finny denied Gene's fault because it shattered the image of a perfect best friend, someone who was supposed to be there for him, not there to kill him. When Gene tried to confess, he remarked to himself, "It struck me then that I was injuring him again. It occurred to me that this could be an even deeper injury than what I had done before. "
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.
After Finny falls from the tree that generated him to break his leg and causes him not to be able to play football ever again. While Gene knows he is guilty, he wants to confess to Finny that it was he who shook the tree, but does not have the valor to tell him the truth, and since Gene will not tell Finny, Finny tells everyone that his injury was caused by him losing his balance and fell off the tree. Then after a while, Gene finally tries to tell Finny that it was he that shook the tree, but Finny won’t believe him and continues to believe it was him losing his balance. Then comes Brinker that assembles everybody to tell Finny that it was Gene that shook the tree, but then they start saying that Gene did it on purpose. Finny could not stand being there with everyone, so he tries to leave the assembly, unfortunately, as Finny tries to go down the stairs, he falls down and breaks his leg again, and was rushed to the doctor.
Within the pages of A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, the main character Gene goes through a multitude of changes; in his life and in his being. Living at Devon, an all-boys private school in scenic New England, gives his changes even less room to grow and adapt in such a secluded environment. At the center of these dramatic changes is his relationship with his closest friend Finny. A tipping point in this relationship is when Gene makes the decision to “jounce the limb” of the tree he and Finny are standing on, causing Finny to fall and cripple himself.
A Separate Peace Wars are cruel, ruthless, and catastrophic. Lives are destroyed, and families are ripped apart. People are turned against each other, and seek to extinguish one another. “Of the past 3,400 years, humans have been entirely at peace for 268 of them, or just 8 percent of recorded history” (Chris Hedges, New York Times). In John Knowles, A Separate Peace, Gene Forrester, a foolish teenager, experiences his own war; a clash between friendship and insecurities.
Finny wore a pink shirt and used the Devon School tie as his belt to the traditional term tea for the Upper Middle class. Mrs. Patch-Withers noticed and Finny quickly came up with a convincing story to possibly get himself out of trouble. Gene thinks Finny will be busted and reacts by saying, “I could feel myself becoming unexpectedly excited at that” (Knowles 12). This quote shows the beginning of the envy Gene feels toward Finny. Gene is somewhat looking forward to the possibility of Finny getting in trouble for the first time.
When most people think of envy, they think of a competition that pushes someone to improve themselves to be like another person. While it is true that envy can definitely have a positive impact, in A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the reality of envy is displayed when Gene hurts his best friend Finny. The overpowering feeling can take over a person and bring them suspicion that can cause them to commit poor actions leaving them damaged and changed forever. The first place we see this in the book is when Gene starts suspecting Finny of planning a master scheme to wreck his academic success.
Sean Duhey Mrs. Peeler 2 5/15/17 A Separate Peace A Separate Peace takes place Devon school in New Hampshire during the summer session in 1942. World War 2 plays a huge role with the students daily live and routines at school. The setting is key in the novel because Gene goes to different spots of the school where he had memories of Finny. Gene Forrester is the protagonist because he is the narrator of the the story he appears to be a middle aged man visiting his old school