Good Vs. Evil In John Knowles A Separate Peace

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Throughout history, people have discussed the nature of man and whether man is inherently good, evil, or something else. However, man has proven himself to be guided by his own internal conflicts, which lead him to make certain decisions that can be characterized as good or evil. Therefore, despite his intentions, man is neither good nor evil, but will make virtuous or malicious decisions based on his own personal experiences and emotions. In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, Gene contributes to the trend of men being led by their emotions. Gene is a teenage boy attending high school at Devon. He is very intelligent, however he is also extremely insecure. As a result of his insecurities, Gene becomes frustrated and allows himself to be overcome by his self-hatred, which causes him to harm himself and act unreasonably insecure. Gene is not inherently evil, rather he becomes corrupt as a result of his insecurities which provoke confusion and vice. Gene allows himself to obsess over Finny’s success and loses sight of his own self. Throughout the beginning of the book, Gene shows his personal insecurities through self-hatred and envy towards Finny, who he views as perfect. After Finny shatters his leg, Gene goes back to his room and tries on Finny’s clothes. As he studies himself in the mirror, Gene notices he looks similar to Finny and states, “I had no idea why this gave me such intense relief, but it seemed, standing there in Finny’s triumphant shirt, that I would never stumble through the confusions of my own character again” (62). At this moment, Gene…show more content…
Despite hurting many people, Gene is actually suffering the most from his own insecurities which contributes to his emotional struggle. Therefore, although Gene makes many mistakes, he cannot be seen as inherently evil because he acts out of a lack of understanding of himself rather than
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