“What was I doing up here anyway? Why did I let Finny talk me into stupid things like this? Was he getting some kind of hold over me?” (Knowles 9). The complicated bond of friendship between Gene and Phineas (Finny) is shown in the book, A Separate Peace by John Knowles. Although, Gene’s envy toward Finny, rattles them, and the reader of their strong relationship.
As it can be noted by Finny’s actions after he finally came to terms that Gene was responsible for making him fall out of the tree, his anger was virtually uncontrollable. Between Finny’s lack of concept for individuals to make devious and harmful decisions, and his distaste for competition, he often felt that it would be wrong to put others down for one’s own glory. For Finny, the realization that people can be evil, was far too much to bear rationally. This realization created a deep cognitive dissonance within Finny, as Finny always tried to look for the positives of situations and give people the benifit of
In chapter seven of John Knowles novel, A separate Peace, readers finally see the story’s main protagonist, Gene Forrester, confronted about what his intentions actually were when he chose Phineas as his roommate, and later what his role actually was in the tree accident that led Finny to break his leg. Gene’s initial reaction was to laugh it off, but he later became defensive around others when the conversation transitioned into the “butt room.” Gene’s reactions show the effects of his guilt finally getting to him, and how it’s beginning to affect him in ways he never expected. After Brinker jokes with Gene about him “getting rid” of Finny, Gene finds himself suddenly overtaken with a feeling of guilt. He initially tries to laugh it off, and jokingly confesses to what happened, but he later realizes the magnitude of his statement and quickly tries to change the subject. He asks Brinker to go for a smoke in the “Butt Room,” but Gene was not expecting what happened next.
Next, the brother gives us plenty of moments that prove his cruel behavior and thoughts during the story. As he goes to give us proof of my statement on page 345, “It was bad enough having an invalid brother, but having one who possibly was not all there was unbearable, so
In A Separate Peace, the characters were in the middle of a war and were preparing to go into a war. For example, a character named Leper left the war because he was so emotionally unstable, this could have indicated some sort of PTSD. A character named Gene, or the narrator, went off to the war hoping to forget about all the pain he went through as he had made his friend Finny (Phineas) fall out of a tree causing him to break his leg and not play sports agaon. Also, Gene went through even more emotional pain after his best friend died due to leg surgery. The symptoms of PTSD may have been rougher on these characters as they were only late teenagers and their brains were not yet fully develpopd.
In the novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles, Gene Forrester inadvertently causes the death of his best friend, Finny, a tragedy which results in his premature metamorphosis from an envious and insecure teenager into a man who loves himself and therefore others. At the beginning of the novel, during the summer session at Devon School, Gene describes his feelings about Finny’s evading disciplinary action for using a tie as a belt, a dress code violation: “He had gotten away with everything. I felt a sudden stab of disappointment. That was because I just wanted to see some more excitement; that must have been it” (Knowles 28). Gene is tired of Finny’s rule-breaking and is jealous of Finny’s powers of persuasion.
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.
Knowles uses symbols such as the breaking of Phineas’s leg and Phineas’s untimely death to show that Gene and Phineas’s friendship is slowly breaking apart. “Eventually a fact emerged; it was one of his legs, which had been ‘shattered’,” (61). The break being described as shattered can also represent the friendship and show Gene’s betrayal of Phineas. Now that Phineas has fallen out of the tree, possibly because of Gene, this begins to rip apart their friendship, Phineas refusing to believe his best friend could do it, and Gene is unsure if he caused it and thinking something else was to blame. “As I was moving the bone some of the marrow must have escaped into his blood stream and gone directly to his heart and stopped it, “ (193).
Months later, Finny finds out that Gene purposely jounced the limb. He is fuming with anger as he sprints out of the room. He then falls down the stairs and breaks his leg, leading to his death a few days later. Though Gene has the impression that his envy for Finny is going to be beneficial in some way, it limits him in all aspects of life. He is not capable of always living to the fullest and having gratitude for what gifts he has, such as academics.
The first major scene with loss of innocence in the story is when Gene shakes the tree limb and this causes Finny to fall from the tree and shatter his leg, ruining his future for sports, fighting in the war, and even walking correctly. In the scene before Gene shook the tree limb, he grew paranoid and assumed that Finny was attempting to sabotage Gene’s grades by hosting the club meeting and expecting him to go, and Finny denied the accusation. Gene internally can’t stand how perfect and pure Finny’s character is and it eats away at him, which is what caused him to do what he did with the tree. The following quote from Professor Ellis is a perfect example of the change inside Gene and what caused him to ruin Finny’s life. “Confronted with the evident truth of Finny’s denial, Gene understands his inferiority to Phineas and his own moral ugliness, made the more so when juxtaposed to Finny’s innocence.