Identity In John Knowles A Separate Peace

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Written by John Knowles, A Separate Peace, acknowledges the issues regarding identity through its four major characters: Gene, who suffers a lack of selfhood; Finny, who loses his self in an accident; Leper, who feels overlooked by his peers; and, Brinker, who deems he must live up to his family’s expectations. Though the novel is expressed in Gene’s perspective, identity is the primary theme and touches on all four characters. Furthermore, the three articles, "Are you Having an Identity Crisis?", "Basics of Identity" and, "Authenticity and Identity" all further analyze the topic. Additionally, they amalgamate with the book to describe the insecurities of the characters. Notably, Gene, the main character does not appreciate his own self. Rather, he yearns to be Finny, a person whom he simultaneously envies and adores. Charismatic and full of life, Phineas is a character out of Gene’s dreams, and so when Gene gets the chance, he transforms into Finny; “I felt like some nobleman, some Spanish grandee” (Knowles 62). Thus, “To deny the true self is to deny the best us” (Heshmat). Apart from Finny, Gene views success as being the best in the class and in enlisting for the war. However, this burning desire to be the best adds…show more content…
Moreover, his character is such that, “He sees the best in people and overlooks anything that is contrary to that view”(Edelstein). And so, he fears in learning the truth of what caused him to plummet down the tree. Although deep in his mind, he finds reason that Gene caused it, he cannot bear to accept his conscience. Synchronously, as Finny tumbles to the Earth, all his dreams and aspirations plummet with him. No longer can he participate in sports and compete in the Olympics, or enlist in the army, another one of his goals. And, jealous he is of his friends who will be able to join the army, while he'll be of no use. Therefore, he insists Gene train and wishes to live through his
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