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. Gene’s envy and imitation of Finny affects him.
The theme of inner savagery plays a very prominent role in both novels. 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.
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. Which makes Gene quite an annoyance.
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.
In A Separate Peace, both Finny and Gene had difficulty accepting a friend's shortcomings. 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."
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.
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.