Finny's Betrayal In A Separate Peace

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In the novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles, Phineas, who is commonly called Finny, takes on the role of a light character. Thus, Finny is portrayed to be lighthearted and kind to almost everyone, even if they arguably do not deserve it. However, Finny’s lack of ability to be skeptical eventually leads to his downfall. Throughout the novel, Finny denies various painful truths, such as Gene’s betrayal and the war, and focuses on enjoyment rather than competition because it is too difficult for him to confront reality and betray his facade of peace and happiness. When Finny tumbled out of the tree, after Gene jostled the branch, he was unable to accept the truth that Gene pushed him out of the tree, as it was too painful for him. Even after Gene travels to Finny’s house and exclaimed that he had jostled the branch, Finny still could not believe that someone he thought was his best friend could do this. Finny vehemently denied Gene’s claim, even going as far to command him to “Sit down, you damn fool” (Knowles 62). Eventually, during the mock trial at Devon, Finny bursts out of the room in a blind rage after realizing that there was no longer a possible method for him to bury the facts. During this blind rage, Finny…show more content…
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

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