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.
In A Separate Peace, both Finny and Gene had difficulty accepting a friend's shortcomings. Finny refused to believe that Gene caused him to fall from the tree. Finny denied Gene's fault because it shattered the image of a perfect best friend, someone who was supposed to be there for him, not there to kill him. When Gene tried to confess, he remarked to himself, "It struck me then that I was injuring him again. It occurred to me that this could be an even deeper injury than what I had done before."
The war happening outside Devon represents the external and internal conflicts between the characters. An example is Gene’s inner conflict with jealousy when he says, “I was beginning to see that Phineas could get away with anything. I couldn't help envying him that a little, which was perfectly normal. There was no harm in envying even your best friend a little” (Knowles 25). Here, Gene is trying to justify his envy towards Finny, which could represent the justification of calamities in war.
The Envious Friend Jealously drives people to unthinkable and incomprehensible actions that is understood least of all by those responsible for it. John Knowles wrote a novel called A Separate Peace that takes place in New Hampshire. Gene, the narrator of A Separate Peace, is a conformist, genius, but envious southern boy that plays an important part in this novel. A Separate Peace depicts how Gene’s envy and imitation of Finny affect him, his relationship with Finny, and his achievement of peace. Gene’s envy and imitation of Finny affects him.
“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.
The boys’ differences do not keep them apart, however, for they are roommates and Phineas considers Gene his “best pal” (48). In the real world, World War II is occurring while Finny secretly tries to enlist in the military, although with his broken leg he will not be able to participate. Gene feels an enormous amount of sorrow for jouncing the limb of a tree when Finny and him were on it, causing Finny to fall. Gene cannot face his sense of responsibility and get rid of his guilt. Gene is not a bad person, he has a conscience, and feels remorse, but he cannot face the part of himself deep down inside that
Finny used to ask Gene to go and do other things instead of studying. Gene normally did what Finny asked. Gene decided that Finny was trying to hurt him when they story states, “Suddenly he turned his fire against me, he betrayed several of his other friends,” and he was doing things on his own (102). The second stage of Finny and Gene’s friendship is betrayal and guilt. Gene felt betrayed when he
He was sixteen years old and World War II just started. Finny, one of the main characters, and Gene were best friends but as they continued to be friends, their friendship corrupted in several ways. Gene, the main character in A Separate Peace, reveals who he really is because of jealousy, brutality, and hatred. Jealousy is just one of Gene’s few negative emotions in A Separate Peace. One day, Gene discovered something in him that he never knew was there.
“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide” (Emerson). The character Gene learns of this not until after many trials and a great tragedy. In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the idea of self-reliance is greatly stressed. The novel A Separate Peace conveys how Gene’s envy and imitation of Finny affect him, how Gene’s envy and imitation affect their relationship with Finny, and Gene’s achievement of peace. The envy towards and imitation of Funny greatly affect Gene.