A Separate Peace Rhetorical Analysis

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Many people think of their best friends, and they are happy to see them, want to do things with them, and are just generally glad to have them around. However, in John Knowles’s A Separate Peace, this is not the case with friends Phineas and Gene. In this novel, Knowles uses the protagonist, Gene forrester, to help show how betrayal can ruin friendships. He uses many techniques, including foreshadowing, figurative language, and symbolism. Foreshadowing is a technique that is used throughout the book. Gene is always in his own competition with his friend Phineas. “There was no harm in envying your best friend a little, “ (25). Gene’s saying this shows that their relationship is not very solid, and his envy is part of the reason it is…show more content…
Knowles uses symbols such as the breaking of Phineas’s leg and Phineas’s untimely death to show that Gene and Phineas’s friendship is slowly breaking apart. “Eventually a fact emerged; it was one of his legs, which had been ‘shattered’,” (61). The break being described as shattered can also represent the friendship and show Gene’s betrayal of Phineas. Now that Phineas has fallen out of the tree, possibly because of Gene, this begins to rip apart their friendship, Phineas refusing to believe his best friend could do it, and Gene is unsure if he caused it and thinking something else was to blame. “As I was moving the bone some of the marrow must have escaped into his blood stream and gone directly to his heart and stopped it, “ (193). The author’s incorporation of Phineas dying this way aids in showing Gene’s betrayal of Phineas. Prior to Phineas’s death, he and Gene had been fighting much more than they normally did, and Phineas ended up telling Gene he was upset that he couldn’t participate in the war due to his leg. Gene feels bad because he is uncertain about whether or not Phineas’s first fall was his fault, and ultimately, it was the first fall that caused Phineas to die. Throughout this story there are many symbols, many of which show Gene’s betraying
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