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
“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.
Lastly, Gene's goodness is evident through his maturity as he ends the battle against himself. In Gene's younger days, he is carefree and thinks only of himself. Maturity becomes more prominent when Gene confesses his evil against Finny. By the end of the novel, Gene overcomes the battle of good vs evil within and observes, "...my war ended before I ever put on a uniform; I was on active duty all my time at school; I killed my enemy there." (A Separate Peace, 110). Gene realizes evil had been within
Gene’s envy and imitation of Finny affects him a lot throughout the novel. One way Gene is affected throughout A Separate Peace is when he explains his self-destruction.
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.
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.
But Gene is also quite a passive character who tries to mold to his friends ideas and feeling, which can lead Gene to contradict something he has said before. Gene can’t handle the idea of completely blowing off Phineas so he just gives in
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.
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
Charles Kuralt once said, “ The love of family and the admirations of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.” This quote shows how jealousy and popularity aren’t as important as relationships in your life. In the book, A Separate Peace, Gene has different priorities than relationships. Gene, a young boy who attends Devon boarding school, goes through many different trials along his grade school journey. He faces problems with friends and school life during the time of World War two and the draft being in full swing. In the book, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the author shows Gene being changed by his jealous personality, reveals how interactions with other characters affect the main storyline, and displays how friendship
Gene’s survival was dependent on Finny’s death. When Gene jounces the limb he shatters Finny’s leg, as well as his heart. Finny knows that Gene purposely caused his fall, but can’t let his “best pal” be exposed. Finny will do anything to save Gene from Leprosy. Finny realizes that Gene “just didn’t know” what he had done, and forgives his sin, which saves Gene. Without forgiveness, Gene would still be living in fear and hate, buried by his burden. Gene learns tremendously from his experiences. All his enemies were imagined, there was no need for “Maginot Lines” to protect himself from an enemy that didn’t exist. After Finny’s funeral Gene becomes “Phineas-filled” and his “war is over before it ever begins.” Gene realizes, “I was ready for the war, now that I no longer had any hatred to contribute to it. My fury was gone… Phineas had absorbed it and taken it with him, and I was rid of it forever” (195). Gene fights his “war” with himself, not Finny. Although Gene alone was responsible for his death, Finny forgives him and makes Gene ready for the war, now that his hatred has left. Gene returns to Devon to confront his problems and cleanse himself. Finny’s pink shirt can’t make Gene’s problems go away, Gene must confront them himself. He needs to move on with his life, after living in fear for 15 years. Upon Gene’s return, he notices several differences. The tree seems to have “withered
Gene considers Finny to be his best friend. In this type of friendship there is an implied vow of trust, loyalty and sense of forever friendship "Finny could shine with everyone, he attracted everyone he met. I was glad of that too. Naturally. He was my roommate and my best friend" (Knowles 40). Gene breaks that vow when he causes Finny's fall that results in life altering injuries “Holding firmly to the trunk, I took a step toward him, and then my knees bent and I jounced the
Devon, an elite boarding school, is highly competitive, forcing students to have envy for one another. In the story Gene’s envy for Finny is a constant theme throughout the book.Working little for his goals, it can be seen that Finny gets everything he wants using his persuasion and athletic abilities . As Finny’s friend it is easy to feel pushed away from the spotlight. Gene thinks everything he does with Finny is a competition. Although he lives, Gene is ultimately the one truly destroyed by his envy.
Overall Gene is known to be the character that has worries and lets emotional situations get the best of him. Continuously throughout the story Gene allows what happens to Finny and the world around him slowly bring him down. The war acts as another filler for disaster in society and can get the best of the boys who are preparing to fight in it. Therefore Gene’s identity in A Separate Peace defines him as the weaker one the one who is sensitive.
Although at points Gene seems mentally unstable, he is a round, dynamic character that adapts and is generally mentally sound. Gene being the narrator of his own story shows from his perspective just how he views people and their interactions. Because of his point of view the conflicts that change him are extremely prevalent because of how his every thought is displayed throughout the story. How Gene’s character