Finny's Jealousy In A Separate Peace

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In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, Gene initiates and defeats his own personal war with Finny, while Leper involuntarily alters his once observant persona for the worse in the midst of the war, demonstrating that those who create their own battles are more likely to succeed rather than others who blindly fall into conflicts without direction. From the start, Gene’s jealousy towards Finny manifests itself repeatedly through Gene’s routine lifestyle, instigating a personal war between the boys due to Gene’s envious actions, foreshadowing his success. This is due to Finny’s lack of knowledge about the situation. Gene’s adoration for Finny’s ability to “get away with anything”, leaves Gene “envying him” since he thought it “was perfectly normal” to adore a best friend, marking…show more content…
Finny’s presence satisfies Gene and drives him towards the final steps till Finny’s defeat, his death. At the time of Finny’s demise, Gene “stood watching him being lowered into his family’s strait-laced burial ground” and “could not escape a feeling” that it is his own funeral (Knowles 194). This marks the end of their ongoing battle and proves Finny’s defeat because Gene receives what he desires, becoming Finny now that he is dead. Gene’s action of establishing the conflict without Finny’s presence signifies Gene’s success since he directs the events without Finny’s approval or attentive mind, proving those who construct their own battles are more prone to triumph. On the contrary, Leper a once observant and carefree character, loses his mind and personality in the depths of the war and begins hallucinating, declared mentally insane. Prior in the novel, Leper differentiates from the other students since he would rather spend his time “looking for a beaver dam” in “a little stream that flows into the Devon” than playing sports (Knowles
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