In John Knowles’ novel, A Separate Peace, the main character, Gene Forrester, undergoes a traumatic journey to develop the aspects necessary for coping through adulthood. This novel is a flashback to the year of 1942, when Gene attends his final year at Devon High School, in New Hampshire. Although Gene appears to be Finny’s best friend, he follows in Finny’s steps so that his personality clones to be like Finny’s. Finny exposes new experiences that provoke Gene’s development into adulthood. As Gene engages in new experiences, he soon realizes that he envies Finny’s abilities. Gene comes of age through his understanding of the difficult challenges in his youth.
Charles Kuralt once said, “ The love of family and the admirations of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.” This quote shows how jealousy and popularity aren’t as important as relationships in your life. In the book, A Separate Peace, Gene has different priorities than relationships. Gene, a young boy who attends Devon boarding school, goes through many different trials along his grade school journey. He faces problems with friends and school life during the time of World War two and the draft being in full swing.
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
“A Separate Peace” portrays how Gene’s envy and imitation affects himself, his relationship with Finny, and how he finds his peace, or lack thereof, at the end of the book. Gene’s envy and imitation of Finny affects him in many ways. He starts to believe he was meant to become a part of Finny. After Finny broke his leg from falling out of a tree, he tells Gene that he must play sports for him. Gene then thinks to himself “and I lost part of myself to him then, and a soaring sense of freedom revealed that this must have been my purpose from the first: to become part of Phineas,” (Knowles 85).
Gene says that, “I was beginning to see that he could get away with anything. I couldn’t help envying him a little…” (Knowles 25). Gene then tries to justify his envious feelings towards Finny by explaining that, “There was no harm in envying even your best friend a little.” However, this envy turns into more of a jealousy and Gene starts to see Finny as more of competition, rather than a friend.
Devon, an elite boarding school, is highly competitive, forcing students to have envy for one another. In the story Gene’s envy for Finny is a constant theme throughout the book. Working little for his goals, it can be seen that Finny gets everything he wants using his persuasion and athletic abilities . As Finny’s friend it is easy to feel pushed away from the spotlight. Gene thinks everything he does with Finny is a competition.
Gene believes that Finny and he hate each other, until he realizes Finny’s pureness, which Gene can not stand. At first, Gene believes that Finny wants to exceed him, and that the two are rivals. Everyone at Devon likes Finny. The teachers adore him, the students look up to him, the athletes aspire
Adulthood: for many not part of it, it is seen as a scary, foreign world. The moment one leaves the safety of childhood to become an adult varies between people and cultures. For Gene Forrester, the protagonist in the coming-of-age novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles, adulthood begins with the fall of his friend, Phineas. Set at New Hampshire’s Devon Prep School during the years of 1942-1943, A Separate Peace follows Gene and Phineas until they reach maturity. The moment that Phineas falls from the tree symbolizes when Gene falls from innocence.
In John Knowles’s novel A Separate Peace Identity is shown as what defines us and makes us be placed in other peoples perspectives. An author can use identity to place characters in the readers mind to portray them a certain way, just as John Knowles did in A Separate peace. An identity can be defined as who a person is inside and out.
Friendship A Separate Peace has a very unique description of friendship. Throughout the book, Gene is jealous of Finny’s looks and what he is able to do. Gene has a lot of ambivalent feelings toward Finny. He wants to be Finny, but at the same time he is jealous of him.
“Our minds are a battle ground between good and bad ideas; we are whatever side wins the battle” Bangambiki Habyarimana, The Great Pearl of Wisdom. The struggle between good and evil is found universally. In the novel A Separate Peace, Gene Forrester struggles between his own inner good and evil. Gene's actions often reflect his feelings, leading him to trouble, giving the illusion that Gene is filled with more evil than good. However, Gene's goodness can be found even through dark times. Inherent evil does not lie in Gene Forrester because he desires to be the best he can be, he feels guilt, and matures from adolescence to adulthood.
The relationship between Gene and Finny changes and evolves, influenced by actions and consequences and filtered by changing perceptions. The changes are frequently by-products of Gene's insecurity and his constant self-evaluation. At times, Gene and Finny are the best of friends, sharing adventures and feelings with complete openness and honesty. At other times, Gene considered Finny to be a rival and a detriment to Gene's ability to all that he could or hoped to accomplish at Devon. This quote helps support how their relationship.
Gene’s relationship with his “best friend” Phineas describes how the relationship resulted in the killing of Gene's enemy, his own youth, and innocence. Gene is plainly described in the novel as envious of Finny, he is also depicted as the position of much hatred and dismay by his peers. Therefore, the fact that Gene kills his own youth is likely considering Finny’s success, Gene’s jealousy towards
A loving friend turns murderer after his retched jealousness and overanalyzing pushes him to new lows. In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the true character of Gene Forrester is shown as he narrates his point of view of the story. Gene Forrester is a relatable ever changing, humanistic, and someone who is always in contention.