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
The author, John Knowles, in the novel, “A Separate Peace”, conveys the lesson of friendship, or rather the lack of, with his use of diction. The strategy in which the author phrased certain sections of dialogue between Finny and Gene is there to show that Finny cares for Gene despite Gene’s obvious discontent. The friendship is a one-way street, and the author uses diction to represent this unbalance in the relationship, leading to friendship being a key theme throughout the book.
A Separate Peace has a very unique description of friendship. Throughout the book, Gene is jealous of Finny’s looks and what he is able to do. Gene has a lot of ambivalent feelings toward Finny. He wants to be Finny, but at the same time he is jealous of him. They are supposed to be best friends, but Gene envies him and thinks he is trying to make him look bad. After Finny’s accident, Gene struggled with guilt and his life was changed because of it.
Strength develops in someone through their experiences which have the ability to make them an emotionally stronger person. A quote by Ernest Hemingway presents that “the world breaks everyone, then some become strong at the broken places.” Even those who suffer the most will have the ability to bounce back at a stronger state. This theme reveals its relevance in A Separate Peace by John Knowles as we analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the main characters, Finny and Gene. Although some may insist that Finny’s emotional state fits the mold of a weak character, I have confidence that Finny has the most inner strength out of the two boys given his description and actions throughout the novel.
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
Shortly after, the boys were having a long distance call when Finny tells Gene, "Listen, pal, if I can't play sports, you're going to play them for me" (Knowles 48). The quote shows how Gene is becoming a part of Finny. Finny still wants to be in sports, so he uses his best pal to play for him. Both characters depend on each other to get through obstacles that are happening in their life. Finny is a round character because he shows a lot of emotion after the accident; the accident changes everything he thought he was. In result of the accident he faces many bumps in the road and he does not know how to properly handle them. Constantly, Finny was a confident charming person until the accident which makes him a dynamic character. The end of the book supports this because Finny is a completely different person before he dies than in the beginning of the book. One of the many things that changed in Finny's life was his friendship with Gene. This quote shows one of the many themes in this book, Friendship. Through all of the problems the boys have faced they still maintain a friendship. Friendship is a combination of things but it is always built on a foundation of trust, and wanting the best for one
Gene is a 16 year old boy attending the Devon boarding school in the year 1942. He is an introvert who is trying to find himself throughout the book, A Separate Peace. Gene befriends a boy named Phineas, or Finny. Finny is the exact opposite of Gene, he is an extrovert who likes adventure and breaking rules. The two boys become close friends, but throughout their friendship Gene is jealous of Finny. Gene excels in academics, while Finny is fun and great athlete. Finny is the leader in the friendship and Gene feels that Finny is very controlling almost bullying him. Gene and Finny are both competitive, but Genes thinks that Finny wants to compete with him in everything. Gene is the protagonist in the story due to his competitive nature and his jealousy of Finny.
One day, thetwo boys were on top of the tree and a large sense of envy came over Gene, he shook the treebranch. Finny loses his balance, trying to reach for Gene. Gene, who does not move, he letsFinny fall. Finny shattered his leg and was told he could never play sports again. This is a keypoint in the novel which showed Gene at his lowest point where he let his emotions get the bestof him. Throughout the rest of the book Knowles keeps stating Gene’s thoughts of regret andFinny’s disbelief of the situation. In a true friendship, if one was feeling a great amount jealousy,one would most likely talk it through or at least think through the situation instead of trying tocause physical harm to them.Once summer session is over, Brinker Hadley comes into the two boys room unaware ofFinny’s return and asks Gene if he is ready to enlist which they talked about prior to Finny’sreturn. Finny who wanted nothing more to be able to enlist was thinking about losing his bestfriend but reacted differently. He kind of shook it off and went to shower. Gene deciding not toleave because of Finny.t this shows how they have more of a rivalry than a friendship just by theway he handles the situation. Normally a friend would he happy and supportive towards the othereven if they can not do it. Finny was the opposite.The last main event that would shake the friendship to more of a rivalry was in Chapter12, Finny angrily left a room because he still did not want to believe Gene pushed him.Unfortunately, he fell down the marble stairs causing him to break his leg again. After this hefinally realized he would not be able to enlist like everyone else and Gene snaps on him stating,“Phineas, you wouldn’t be any good in the war, even if nothing had happened to your leg.”(12.190) This leading into a blowout and Finny coming to senses with what Gene actually did tohim. That was the last conversation they
“Then a second realization broke as clearly and bleakly as dawn at the beach. Finny had deliberately set out to wreck my studies.” (24) Gene thinks this after going to the beach with Finny and ruining his grade because of the lack of studying due to his time spent having fun. This is just one example of how Gene thinks there's some sort of ongoing competition between themselves, causing Gene to be extremely jealous, self concerning and over analyzing about every situation instead of just enjoying the fun the two have as Finny does. Even though Gene acts like this he is still very friendly and a good person. At Devon, Leper is an outcast who Gene befriends again because no one else seems to understand him but gene. This shows how although Gene has swayed emotions, underneath all he is a good person who doesn't mind taking another friend even if it means he is viewed differently for being around Leper. Along with that after braking Finny’s leg and finding out Finny will never play sports again, Gene wishes he had been the one to break his leg. Further showing how at heart Gene is a good friend. Gene’s widespread personality lead to him acquiring a diverse description, including jealousy, self preservation, over analysing, but friendly
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.
Maybe it is true that Gene envied Finny a little, which is perfectly normal. However, a little envy is surely not enough to drive Gene to jounce the limb, causing Finny to fall. Surely this innocent, young boy could not have gathered the feelings to
Just like no one can escape death no one can escape the aftermath of a traumatic event. Even though trauma isn’t escapable it is overcomeable. The traumatic events that occur throughout A Separate Peace would lead most to say that it is a pessimistic book, but there are much deeper findings that is optimistic in the book. The optimistic view of the book is looked upon and isn’t the most obvious choice of the two but has many provable points. These pieces of evidence varying from the influence Finny had on Gene, the war which helped them grow, and the life changing events they had to face.