behind it since Finny fell from the tree. I decided to put on his clothes” (Knowles 29). In other words, for a brief moment, Gene felt relief from his guilt and loses his identity. He was physically trying to become Finny by trying to look like him. Another aspect that effects finding Gene’s identity
In his novel, A Separate Peace, Knowles uses the story of Gene Forrester to examine a dark aspect of human nature. Gene Forrester, the novel’s protagonist, fights an inner battle of jealousy and hatred towards his best friend, Phineas. Phineas, an athlete, charismatic charmer, and fearless boy is someone that Gene wishes he could be. Gene creates an enemy out of Phineas in his mind because of the “competition” that is their friendship. The Roman author Tacitus wrote, “It belongs to human nature to hate those you have injured.” Knowles asserts that the opposite is true. People hate those who injure them because of the false creation of inner-demons led by a jealous and envious nature.
Towards the beginning of the novel, Finny’s strengths include his ability to stay optimistic, even after his life-threatening accident. When Finny converses with Gene afterwards, he tells Gene “Listen, pal, if I can’t play sports, you’re going to play them for me…” (Knowles 85). Even after being told he probably won’t have the ability to walk again, a point one could describe as the lowest and most depressing of his life, Finny maintains his zest for life. He still encourages Gene to do the things that Finny no longer can because he wants to see someone else flourish, and most importantly: his friend. After Finny’s death, Gene even declares that “nothing … had broken [Finny’s] harmonious and natural unity” (Knowles 203). Since Gene exclaims this, the reader understands that Finny
Finny’s fall is symbolic of a fall from innocence. To start, Gene’s belief that Finny was trying to sabotage his education evokes doubt about their friendship. In order to outdo Finny, Gene “…took a step toward him, and then my knees bent and I jounced the limb. Finny, his balance gone, swung his head to look at me…and hit the bank with a sickening, unnatural thud” (Knowles 60). At that point, Gene discovers the reality of hatred and envy between people, as he is responsible for Finny’s fall and injury. The event of Gene deliberately hurting Finny shows that Gene feels some level of resentment, a sure sign of adulthood. Furthermore, the day
A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, tells a story of a 16-year-old boy, Gene Forrester and his various feelings that he harbors for his gifted best friend, Phineas. Throughout the novel, Gene is constantly living in the shadow of Phineas in which he grows to breed resentment, envy, and even hate. The juxtaposition Gene Forrester is caught up in is dealing with a love and hate relationship that causes him to enmesh in personal misgivings. Thus, people can be their own worst enemy if they don't learn to accept who they are. For in striving to be that, it can be said that insecurity is an invisible weapon that oftentimes kills our self-esteem.
“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.
Before the injury, Gene would scream at Finny,but now he feels like he owes Finny his kindness. This passive and emotional Gene is probably the greatest evidence to show that Gene is a dynamic character. Before the injury when Finny would try to explain anything Gene would reply in annoyed tone, “‘Oh, for God sake.’ I slammed close the french book”(57). After the injury however Gene felt like he constantly had a space to fill to make Phineas feel better. Which makes Gene quite an annoyance. When the doctor tells Gene and FInny that Phineas would never play sports again Gene bursts into tears, whereas Phineas tells Gene “What are you looking so sick about?”(65). Phineas understood what happened to him is horrible but frankly Gene feels worse than he does about the situation. This is because Gene is depressed, and feels completely responsible for the situation that ruined his friend’s goals for the
The story “A Separate Peace”, written by John Knowles, was written at the time and takes place during World War II when battles and conflicts amongst nations were evident. Each nation involved struggled and fought their hardest in order to satisfy the good of their nation. Not only is the setting in the story taking place during this time of quarrel, the story also demonstrates areas of self-conflict and an internal battle throughout. The characters in “A Separate Peace”, are described as experiencing this self-conflicting, internal battle. Gene (also the narrator) is specifically depicted as he goes through his battle in life. 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
Gene’s jealousy towards Finny’s perfect personality causes him to have childish emotions, such as resentment. Gene Forrester constantly battles within himself clashing emotions, specifically, hate and envy, towards Phineas. Since he strives to be like Finny, Gene does everything in his power to shove down his feelings of hatred and jealousy. After Finny beat the school swimming record, Gene suspiciously asks himself why Finny did not want him to share the news with anyone else. Because Finny refused to tell anyone, but Gene, about his record-breaking achievement, Gene is baffled as to why Finny would not want to. It seems as though Gene is imagining himself in Finny’s shoes as he mentions, “Was he trying to impress me or something? Not tell anybody? When he had broken a school record without a day of practice? I
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. In the book, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the author shows Gene being changed by his jealous personality, reveals how interactions with other characters affect the main storyline, and displays how friendship
Gene’s survival was dependent on Finny’s death. When Gene jounces the limb he shatters Finny’s leg, as well as his heart. Finny knows that Gene purposely caused his fall, but can’t let his “best pal” be exposed. Finny will do anything to save Gene from Leprosy. Finny realizes that Gene “just didn’t know” what he had done, and forgives his sin, which saves Gene. Without forgiveness, Gene would still be living in fear and hate, buried by his burden. Gene learns tremendously from his experiences. All his enemies were imagined, there was no need for “Maginot Lines” to protect himself from an enemy that didn’t exist. After Finny’s funeral Gene becomes “Phineas-filled” and his “war is over before it ever begins.” Gene realizes, “I was ready for the war, now that I no longer had any hatred to contribute to it. My fury was gone… Phineas had absorbed it and taken it with him, and I was rid of it forever” (195). Gene fights his “war” with himself, not Finny. Although Gene alone was responsible for his death, Finny forgives him and makes Gene ready for the war, now that his hatred has left. Gene returns to Devon to confront his problems and cleanse himself. Finny’s pink shirt can’t make Gene’s problems go away, Gene must confront them himself. He needs to move on with his life, after living in fear for 15 years. Upon Gene’s return, he notices several differences. The tree seems to have “withered
“Because my war ended before I ever put on a uniform; I was on active duty all my time of school; I killed my enemy there” (Knowles, 204). A Separate Peace, written by John Knowles, was taken place at Devon High in the mid 1940’s, in the New England area during WWII. The main character, Gene, is a very smart, but envious and imitative kid that returns back to his school later in life to find peace within himself and past conflicts. Gene’s envious and imitative actions have had many affects within himself, others, and his future, but has found peace throughout everything.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that, “envy is ignorance; imitation is suicide.” (370). John Knowles’ A Separate Peace is set during World War I at Devon School, a boarding school for boys. The book centers on Gene Forrester, a student at Devon, who could be described as an intelligent, but jealous, conformist. A Separate Peace illustrates Gene’s envy and imitation of his friend, Finny, and how it affects himself and his relationship with Finny, and also how Gene eventually finds peace.
In the novel, A Separate Peace by John Knolls Gene's and Finny's friendship with one another brings out each character's virtue or true self. Gene is the smartest kid at the Devon school , and Finny is very athletic. Finny's athletic ability is what leads to the rivalry because Gene wants to be able to achieve an athletic ability like Finny. This novel tells the story in Gene's point of view of how he has grown into adulthood during World War II. The author John Knolls does not give a very good view of Finny because the story is through Gene's eyes where Gene envy's Finny. John Knowles' A Separate Peace explores how rivalry affects their friendship, sports and school.