Character Analysis: A Separate Peace By John Knowles

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Peace, a noun. freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility or freedom from war or violence. The novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles is set during World War Two. The world was captured in the most violent conflict, but several school boys in New Hampshire find a way to grow and develop. The book’s protagonist Gene Forrester develops in a normal way that is separate but affected by the war. Gene transitions from uncertainty through tough, questioning periods of self doubt to ultimately realize who he is and what he means. Three experiences shape Gene in the novel, Challenges of his might and will, Tribulations of great fear and affairs of Self-Realization that ties all three together. In the novel A Separate Peace, Gene Forrester is …show more content…

Gene in the second part of the book comes to terms with reality, or his distorted version and begins to try and correct it. He becomes more and more suspicious of Finny, wondering about their friendship: “Then a second realization broke as clearly and bleakly as dawn at the beach. Finny had deliberately set out to wreck my studies”.(24). Gene begins to examine and analyze his relationship with his friend. Gene matures when he asserts these ideas. Confirming them in his head that in fact Finny is an enemy. Though he keeps these ideas latent and to himself, he understands that Finny is not his friend. This realization clearly defines Gene opposing Finny as a person and a schoolmate. Gene eventually galvanized his ideas and acted: “Holding firmly to the trunk, I took a step toward him [Finny], and then my knees bent and I jounced the limb”.(28). Finny was the only competition that angered Gene, and that he could not get away from. Gene decides to hurt Finny, demonstrating to himself that he does not care for Finny. He separates himself from Finny and now shows himself his true intentions. Gene ultimately discovers the darker, macabre side of himself that shows no remorse for ending the dreams of a classmate. He does not even come to his aid as he falls: “Finny, his balance gone, swung his head around to look at me for an instant with extreme interest”.(25). Gene in fact wanted to hurt his enemy, and reinforces his thoughts. He bears no qualms about the incident and becomes more sure of himself because of it “With unthinking sureness I moved out on the limb and jumped into the river, every trace of my fear of this forgotten”.(25) Gene knows he has destroyed his enemy. He evolves into sureness and calmness after the incident knowing he faces no competition. Gene now has only himself now, without Finny there is no fear. In all events Gene was scared. He was scared for the

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