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
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.
Adulthood: for many not part of it, it is seen as a scary, foreign world. The moment one leaves the safety of childhood to become an adult varies between people and cultures. For Gene Forrester, the protagonist in the coming-of-age novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles, adulthood begins with the fall of his friend, Phineas. Set at New Hampshire’s Devon Prep School during the years of 1942-1943, A Separate Peace follows Gene and Phineas until they reach maturity. The moment that Phineas falls from the tree symbolizes when Gene falls from innocence. Gene’s loss of innocence is demonstrated by his intent to hurt Phineas, the change from summer to winter, and the Devon students’ involvement in World War II.
In the beginning of the novel, Gene returns to Devon to understand what happened in 1942. This is important because Gene seeks to console the guilt he has faced. Furthermore, Gene shows his shame after Finny was jounced off the tree. Remorse over Finny's injury ate Gene up, causing Gene to not participate in sports. Gene feels disgrace while in the infirmary thinking, "If Phineas had been sitting here in this pool of guilt...what would he have done?" (A Separate Peace, 31). Feelings of guilt prove Gene's goodness. Someone who is truly evil would not feel guilty of their wrongdoings.
Gene is a very intelligent student. Throughout the novel we see Gene almost become persuaded by the actions of his friend Phineas. Phineas is a bouncy character who loves sports and doesn’t see the value of studying like Gene. Gene frequently tries to balance his academic and social life, but he gets sick of this balancing act when he backlashes at Phineas for interrupting him from his schoolwork, “Okay, we go. We watch little lily-liver Lepellier not jump from a tree, and I ruin my grade”(57). This event shows how Gene takes his academic work seriously and can get annoyed by the constant nagging and distractions by his friends.
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
A loving friend turns murderer after his retched jealousness and overanalyzing pushes him to new lows. In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the true character of Gene Forrester is shown as he narrates his point of view of the story. Gene Forrester is a relatable ever changing, humanistic, and someone who is always in contention.
Gene’s jealousy towards Finny’s perfect personality causes him to have childish emotions, such as resentment. Gene Forrester constantly battles within himself clashing emotions, specifically, hate and envy, towards Phineas. Since he strives to be like Finny, Gene does everything in his power to shove down his feelings of hatred and jealousy. After Finny beat the school swimming record, Gene suspiciously asks himself why Finny did not want him to share the news with anyone else. Because Finny refused to tell anyone, but Gene, about his record-breaking achievement, Gene is baffled as to why Finny would not want to. It seems as though Gene is imagining himself in Finny’s shoes as he mentions, “Was he trying to impress me or something? Not tell anybody? When he had broken a school record without a day of practice? I
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
“Because my war ended before I ever put on a uniform; I was on active duty all my time of school; I killed my enemy there” (Knowles, 204). A Separate Peace, written by John Knowles, was taken place at Devon High in the mid 1940’s, in the New England area during WWII. The main character, Gene, is a very smart, but envious and imitative kid that returns back to his school later in life to find peace within himself and past conflicts. Gene’s envious and imitative actions have had many affects within himself, others, and his future, but has found peace throughout everything.
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
Rivalry in all of its forms contributes to personal growth, even in extreme cases where the opposing party is debilitated or annihilated, where the consequences force the remaining party to overcome this loss and continue to adapt to the situation.