Analysis Of Rivalry: A Separate Peace By John Knowles

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Rivalry and Its Positive Impact on Personal Growth Rivalry in all of its forms contributes to personal growth, even in extreme cases where the opposing party is debilitated or annihilated, where the consequences force the remaining party to overcome this loss and continue to adapt to the situation. Using the novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles as the basis for the argument, Gene, the arguable antagonist is molded from an innocent schoolboy to an individual that begins to view the world outside of the confines of his academy of study. Starting from the beginning, Gene had misinterpreted his best friend, Finny’s friendly intentions as attempting to undermine him and begins this one-sided rivalry. Recognizing that he could not beat Finny in the realm of athletics, Gene seeks to improve his school marks, and raise himself up on a pillar of his own…show more content…
Soon thereafter, the two embark on a routine climb up the tree, which is so coveted, and Gene jounces the limb from underneath Finny, causing him to fall, and promptly afterward leaping with a previously unknown confidence (28). Gene jumps with a sudden confidence due to his knowledge that he had finally trumped Finny, by forcibly disabling the superior characteristic that he himself did not possess, Finny’s athleticism, therefore emerging from this imaginative rivalry on top. This is an example of the darker side of rivalry, resulting in growth nonetheless, of Gene’s confidence and an unconscious embrace of the mistresses of greed and pride. After the fact, Gene comes to terms that he was not battling Finny, but rather himself and his ignorant heart, sabotaging Finny being the confirmation. He goes further into his epiphany saying, “wars were not made by generations and their special stupidities, but that wars were made instead by something ignorant in the human heart” (109). It is only after Gene cripples Finny that he realizes his conflict was
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