A Separate Peace

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In the novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles, Gene returns to his school when he is an adult and narrates the story of his life at Devon school. When he returns to school he remembers the tree that is the reason Finny’s leg gets broken, and the hard marble stairs. Gene is a charismatic and talented in sports, while Gene is book smart. Beccause Gene is not better at sports than Finny he feels the need to compete with him at everything.
The highlight of Gene’s life in the novel A Separate Peace occurs when he causes Finny to fall off the tree and breaks his leg. The reason why Gene causes Finny to fall off the tree because it all started when he thinks Finny tries to sabotage his effort to become valedictorian. In the beginning, Gene and Finny
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Gene always competes with Finny he attempts to be better than Finny at everything, and once Finny dies, the competition dies as well. At Finny’s funeral, Gene states, “I could not escape a feeling that this way my own funeral, and you do not cry in that case” (194). Finny is Gene’s whole life, so when Finny dies, half of Gene dies too, and Gene has to learn to live without Finny. Gene cannot even talk about Finny after his death as he explains, “I never talked about Phineas and neither did anyone else…I could not use past tense” (202). Gene is in denial of his friend’s death. The only way for Gene to change is for him to accept his friend’s death. Gene enters the war with Brinker which shows he is moving on from his life in Devon and from Finny’s death, and while he leaves he, “[leaves] the door ajar for the first time…My schooling was over” (203). Gene is the only character in the novel A Separate Peace that changes by releasing his anger and being less competitive. Gene informs, “My fury was gone…Phineas had absorbed it had taken it with him, and I was rid of it forever” (203). This is the resolution for Gene; he finally changes and moves on from his life in Devon and the death of his
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