Gene from John Knowles novel, A Separate Peace, a dynamic character changes in accordance to the events of the story.
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.
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
Friendship is very important in this story. Friendship is very important for a person’s well-being. In this book titled A Separate Peace by John Knowles the reader learns a lot about friendship in this book. Gene and Finny are the main characters in this story, they teach you a lot about their friendship. Finny and Gene’s friendship can be described by their rivalry and loyalty, betrayal and guilt, and confession and forgiveness.
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
“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.
“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
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 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.
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.
The quote “Envy is ignorance; imitation is suicide,” (Emerson 370) accurately describes Gene Forrester from “A Separate Peace”. John Knowles is the author of “A Separate Peace” and it is set in New Hampshire at Devon High. Gene Forrester is not your normal protagonist; he thinks his best friend Phineas is “out to get him” and he eventually grows to envy him. He used to conform to Finny in the beginning, but he later grows into his own character. “A Separate Peace” portrays how Gene’s envy and imitation affects himself, his relationship with Finny, and how he finds his peace, or lack thereof, at the end of the book.
In John Knowles’ novel, A Separate Peace, the main character, Gene Forrester, undergoes a traumatic journey to develop the aspects necessary for coping through adulthood. This novel is a flashback to the year of 1942, when Gene attends his final year at Devon High School, in New Hampshire. Although Gene appears to be Finny’s best friend, he follows in Finny’s steps so that his personality clones to be like Finny’s. Finny exposes new experiences that provoke Gene’s development into adulthood. As Gene engages in new experiences, he soon realizes that he envies Finny’s abilities. Gene comes of age through his understanding of the difficult challenges in his youth.