Internal Conflict In A Separate Peace

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Sometimes internal wars can be fought just as vehemently and result in as many casualties as an external war. John Knowles shows us this in his novel, A Separate Peace. During the time of this story, WW2 rages on, whilst the main character, Gene Forrester, battles his own internal conflicts just as violently. From the beginning, you can see that the entire novel is revolved around the happenings of World War 2. As Gene explores his old school grounds, he reminisces on the events that happened at the tree by the creek. He recalls that “...this was the Summer Session, just established to keep up with the pace of the war...The class above, seniors, draft-bait, practically soldiers, rushed ahead of us toward the war. They were caught up …show more content…

Gene says that, “I was beginning to see that he could get away with anything. I couldn’t help envying him a little…” (Knowles 25). Gene then tries to justify his envious feelings towards Finny by explaining that, “There was no harm in envying even your best friend a little.” However, this envy turns into more of a jealousy and Gene starts to see Finny as more of competition, rather than a friend. Everything Finny does, Genes starts to see as competition and rivalry. At one point Gene has a false realization that, “It was all cold trickery, it was all calculated, it was all enmity...We were even after all, even in enmity. The deadly rivalry was on both sides after all” (Knowles 54). However, Gene was wrong. He only realizes this later on when Finny is confused by Gene’s hostility towards him. After a short dispute Gene thinks to himself “Now I knew that there never was and never could have been any rivalry between us. I was not of the same quality as he” (Knowles 59). He becomes aware, after some thought, that, “...I was used to finding something deadly in things that attracted me; there was always something deadly lurking in anything I wanted, anything I loved. And if it wasn’t there, as for example with Phineas, then I put it there myself” (Knowles 101). This unnecessary conflict causes tension and hostility between Finny and Gene, resulting in Gene knocking Finny out of the tree and breaking his

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