A Separate Peace: Consequences Of Jealousy

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A Separate Peace A Separate Peace is a fictional novel that explores the consequences of jealousy in an incredibly close friendship. Gene, the protagonist, has to fight an unending emotional battle against his desire to be better than his naive and trusting friend, Phineas. Jealousy completely consumes Gene’s emotional life, it causes everyone to lose trust and respect for him, and forces him to watch his best friend suffer because of his own treacherous actions. Once the novel begins, we see Gene becoming close friends with Phineas, or Finny for short, and Gene starts by describing a time when his pride first controls him. He narrates how Finny pressures him to jump off of a forbidden tree, but when Finny acknowledges that he pressured Gene…show more content…
Gene is obliged to watch and comfort his best friend through numerous disappointments, all of which were caused by his single crime. He crushes dozens of Phineas’ dreams— Phineas could no longer compete in the Olympics, serve in the Army, or play sports all because of Gene’s inability to control himself. Moreover, Gene’s transgression didn’t stop at dream-crushing— he even indirectly kills his friend after Elwin Lepellier explains his memories of the incident. We are shown Gene’s suffering during Phineas’ funeral when he writes “I did not cry then or ever about Finny. I did not cry even when I stood watching him being lowered into his family’s strait-laced burial ground outside of Boston. I could not escape a feeling that this was my own funeral, and you do not cry in that case” (Knowles 105). Because of Gene’s treachery, he suffers through the realization that his own selfish desires had crushed his best friend’s dreams and ultimately killed Gene emotionally and Phineas physically. Throughout this novel, we watch as Gene suffers the fallout of betraying his best friend. We follow Gene as he utterly destroys his own emotional life, annihilates everyone’s trust in him, and is forced to watch his best friend suffer and die because of his own perfidious actions. Gene is forced to watch as Phineas is buried but he could not do so much as cry. Gene paid the ultimate price for his crime—he had killed himself alongside his now lifeless rival, roommate, and best
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