Greatness In John Knowles A Separate Peace

521 Words3 Pages
When an individual excels at something others usually tend to be jealous of that individual. Greatness causes others to feel incompetent and affects the way that they think. In the novel A Separate Peace, written by John Knowles, two school boys exhibit this. The boys attend a private school, Devon School, during World War II. Gene Forrester and his friend Phineas (Finny) battle through their hardships throughout the book and go against each other. Knowles tells the reader that greatness in others can cause an individual to think and do things that normally would not be considered by using the literary elements of irony, conflict, and character.
First, John Knowles creates the issue of greatness causing an individual to do things that normally would not be considered through the use of irony. Early in the novel Gene and Finny found a tree by
…show more content…
throughout the whole novel, Gene has envied Finny’s superb athletic ability. Gene’s mind is not in the right place while the boys are both on the limb together. Knowles shows this when Gene takes the step of betrayal. Knowles writes in Genes perspective, “Holding firmly to the trunk, I took a step toward him, and then my knees bent and I jounced the limb” (60). Gene was out for Finny because he thought Finny was trying to be better than everyone else. By jouncing the limb and breaking Finny’s leg, Gene no longer had to worry about Finny being the star of greatness.
Throughout the novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles, there are many examples of how greatness can cause others to act indifferently. Certain aspects of this can be positive but, they mostly possess a negative connotation. Gene becomes more outgoing and more willing to do things, but at the same time envies Finny and does things that could ruin their friendship. Knowles shares this abnormal will to do things because of greatness through irony, conflict, and
Open Document