From the very start, Gene’s insecurities have fueled his inner war. These insecurities were illustrated when Gene made up a rivalry between him and Finny. Gene was talking about running for class president, and asked Finny if he would mind if he won. Finny responds by saying “I would kill myself over jealousy envy” (Knowles 52) in a joking manner. However, Gene misreads this as a threat and comes to the conclusion that “The deadly rivalry was on both sides after all” (Knowles 54). He comes to this conclusion in an effort to make him feel better about himself due to a lack of confidence. While doing so temporarily rid him of his insecurities it fueled his jealousy and in turn allowing his inner war to thrive. He knew he was not as handsome nor
In John Knowles, fictional novel, A Separate Peace, he uses internal conflict to ensure the reader’s understanding of a true friendship. Gene brings Finny’s suitcase to the infirmary, and the boys finally talk about the accident. Finny is an emotional mess and begins to cry. He asks Gene, “It was just some blind impulse you had in the tree there, you didn’t know what you were doing. Was that it” (191)? Finny is so hurt because he cannot believe that Gene would deliberately hurt him. Finny tells Gene that he understands that Gene acted without really thinking, and Finny forgives Gene. This shows the reader the true personality of Finny. He is kind, carefree, reckless, real, and loves unconditionally. He cannot accept that anyone close to
behind it since Finny fell from the tree. I decided to put on his clothes” (Knowles 29). In other words, for a brief moment, Gene felt relief from his guilt and loses his identity. He was physically trying to become Finny by trying to look like him. Another aspect that effects finding Gene’s identity
Guilt is a funny concept, that has a different affects on different people. Guilt can cause some to confess and it releases the burden, but for those who take long to confess, it can turn into a negative reaction that can cripple your emotions. A Separate Peace is set in a boarding school in New England. Gene, a main character, is an incisive introvert whose best friend, Phineas, is a handsome athlete. When an accident occurs over the Summer, that leaves Gene and Finny hurt in some way, what comes next could take a toll on their friendship. Dismissive and harmful effects of guilt are all around Gene. These effects caused Gene to lose confidence, and lose his ability to grow as a person.
Towards the beginning of the novel, Finny’s strengths include his ability to stay optimistic, even after his life-threatening accident. When Finny converses with Gene afterwards, he tells Gene “Listen, pal, if I can’t play sports, you’re going to play them for me…” (Knowles 85). Even after being told he probably won’t have the ability to walk again, a point one could describe as the lowest and most depressing of his life, Finny maintains his zest for life. He still encourages Gene to do the things that Finny no longer can because he wants to see someone else flourish, and most importantly: his friend. After Finny’s death, Gene even declares that “nothing … had broken [Finny’s] harmonious and natural unity” (Knowles 203). Since Gene exclaims this, the reader understands that Finny
Finny’s fall is symbolic of a fall from innocence. To start, Gene’s belief that Finny was trying to sabotage his education evokes doubt about their friendship. In order to outdo Finny, Gene “…took a step toward him, and then my knees bent and I jounced the limb. Finny, his balance gone, swung his head to look at me…and hit the bank with a sickening, unnatural thud” (Knowles 60). At that point, Gene discovers the reality of hatred and envy between people, as he is responsible for Finny’s fall and injury. The event of Gene deliberately hurting Finny shows that Gene feels some level of resentment, a sure sign of adulthood. Furthermore, the day
The story “A Separate Peace”, written by John Knowles, was written at the time and takes place during World War II when battles and conflicts amongst nations were evident. Each nation involved struggled and fought their hardest in order to satisfy the good of their nation. Not only is the setting in the story taking place during this time of quarrel, the story also demonstrates areas of self-conflict and an internal battle throughout. The characters in “A Separate Peace”, are described as experiencing this self-conflicting, internal battle. Gene (also the narrator) is specifically depicted as he goes through his battle in life. Gene’s relationship with his “best friend” Phineas describes how the relationship resulted in the killing of Gene's enemy, his own youth, and innocence. Gene is plainly described in the novel as envious of Finny, he is also depicted as the position of much hatred and dismay by his peers. Therefore, the fact that Gene kills his own youth is likely considering Finny’s success, Gene’s jealousy towards
The main purpose Gene had in the novel was to beat his fellow 's students, he went to extreme lengths to become the best. “Holding firmly to the trunk, I took a step toward him, and then my knees bent and I jounced the limb. Finny, his balance was gone, swung his head around to look at me for an instant with extreme interest…” (page 59-60). Gene and his jealousy towards Finny overtook Gene and he jolted Finny off the branch resulting in him breaking his leg and not being able to play sports. Finny not being able to play sports anymore that meant Gene was next in line for the top athlete at Devon. In addition, this incident leads to Finny having several health issues and dying towards the end of the novel. Gene knew that Finny had no admirations towards him and that made him angered. Gene was hurt when Finn died but he still didn’t change once he went to war or when he came back to visit Devon in his elder years. “He had never been jealous of me for a second. Now I knew that there never was and never could have been any rivalry between us. I was not of the same quality as he.“ (page 59). Gene wanted Finny to care about Gene and have a concern if Gene was going to beat him in sports, Gene had issues when facing Finny’s confidence. Therefore, Gene always tried to make Finny jealous and that pushed him to hurt him in the
Gene believes that Finny and he hate each other, until he realizes Finny’s pureness, which Gene can not stand. At first, Gene believes that Finny wants to exceed him, and that the two are rivals. Everyone at Devon likes Finny. The teachers adore him, the students look up to him, the athletes aspire
One way Gene’s jealousy and imitation is an effect on his relationship with Finny is that it caused lots of jealousy towards Finny because of his abilities, appearance, and actions. An example of this is when Gene stated “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). Gene wanted Finny to get in trouble for what Finny had did, which had worn his tie as a belt. He hated that Finny got away with almost anything that he did wrong and wanted to go down someday. Another way their relationship is affected is through Gene’s lack of self-finding and liking. Gene hated that he never was like Finny, so he started to acting and do things that Finny did. That caused a lot of jealousy, guilt, and self-destruction from throughout the relationship that Gene and Finny had. Even through Gene’s envy and imitation effected his relationship with Finny, he still managed to find peace within everything that happened.
Gene has many theories that Finny is trying to trick or misguide him, sending him into a jealous rage.Thinking Finny was against him, Gene started to uncover Finny’s real intentions.”That way he, the great athlete, would be ahead of me. It
Gene’s envy and imitation of Finny affects him in many ways. He starts to believe he was meant to become a part of Finny. After Finny broke his leg from falling out of a tree, he tells Gene that he must play sports for him. Gene then thinks to himself “and I lost part of myself to him then, and a soaring sense of freedom revealed that this must have been my purpose from the first: to become part of Phineas,” (Knowles 85). Since Finny cannot play sports anymore because of his broken leg, he tells Gene that he has to do it for him. Gene realizes that this is his destiny; to become an extension of Phineas. Another way he is affected is that he starts to lose his own ways by copying Finny. When Finny was in the hospital wing of the school, Gene put his clothes on and said “that I would never stumble through the confessions
Pessimism and sorrow cohesive with war and malice lie in deception to create a ruse for innocent individuals. A Separate Peace is a pessimistic novel due its involvement with war, malice, and sorrow. This is due to its revolution around World War II, Gene’s malice towards Finny, and a murder caused by an unlikely source.
Gene says that, “I was beginning to see that he could get away with anything. I couldn’t help envying him a little…” (Knowles 25). Gene then tries to justify his envious feelings towards Finny by explaining that, “There was no harm in envying even your best friend a little.” However, this envy turns into more of a jealousy and Gene starts to see Finny as more of competition, rather than a friend. Everything Finny does, Genes starts to see as competition and rivalry. At one point Gene has a false realization that, “It was all cold trickery, it was all calculated, it was all enmity...We were even after all, even in enmity. The deadly rivalry was on both sides after all” (Knowles 54). However, Gene was wrong. He only realizes this later on when Finny is confused by Gene’s hostility towards him. After a short dispute Gene thinks to himself “Now I knew that there never was and never could have been any rivalry between us. I was not of the same quality as he” (Knowles 59). He becomes aware, after some thought, that, “...I was used to finding something deadly in things that attracted me; there was always something deadly lurking in anything I wanted, anything I loved. And if it wasn’t there, as for example with Phineas, then I put it there myself” (Knowles 101). This unnecessary conflict causes tension and hostility between Finny and Gene, resulting in Gene knocking Finny out of the tree and breaking his