A Separate Peace Guilt Analysis

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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.

Furthermore, the theme guilt is crippling is shown throughout the entirety of the novel. This is mainly shown when Gene feels guilty about Finny, since Gene broke his leg. The first time Gene feels guilty about what he did is when Phineas first put in the hospital after Gene jounced the limb. Once the doctor came out and explain Finny's condition to Gene, he says Finny wants to talk to Gene. Gene then thinks, “Finny would say nothing behind my back, he would accuse me face to face.” (64) Gene knew that Finny would be mad at him after the tree incident. He expected this because he knew that it was true what he did. Gene doesn't doubt that Finny
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The trial increase the crippling effect of guilt on Gene. The following shows how Gene reacted to Leper telling everyone that Gene caused Finny to fall out of the tree. “Everyone must be able to see how false his confidence was. Any fool could see that. But whatever I said would be a self indictment; others would have to fight for me.”(174-175) Gene is so consumed by guilt that he is thinking about everything he does and how that could indicate whether or not he's guilty. This confirms how the guilt is negatively affecting him by causing him to lose his
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