John Knowles A Separate Peace

772 Words4 Pages
In Chapter One of How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas C. Foster points out that almost every trip in literature is a quest. The five elements to a quest are: a quester, a place to go, a stated reason to go there, challenges and trials, and the real reason to go. Gene is the quester in A Separate Peace by John Knowles. He visited the Devon School, where he had been a student fifteen years before, to see two “fearful sites,” (Knowles 10). While at the school, he noticed that it looked new, which he found slightly unsettling, for “...it made the school look like a museum...” (Knowles 9). The first site that he visited was a marble staircase that was “...the same as ever,” (Knowles 11). Gene implies that he also had not changed much, except he “...had more money, success, and ‘security’,” (Knowles 12) than before. He then battles his way through mud, rain, and cold to see a tree by the Devon River. This act of determination highlights the importance of his visit to the tree. He notes that the tree seems smaller. By seeing how the tree had changed, Gene changed,…show more content…
In Gene’s case, disloyalty and cowardice appears through his metaphorical bad heart. Gene’s insecurities got in the way of his friendship with Phineas. He was jealous that Finny could never get in trouble, and that he appeared to be perfect in almost every way. When Gene began to believe that Phineas wanted to surpass him academically, he felt threatened. This mixed with his jealousy, and caused him to impulsively shake the tree limb that Phineas was standing on, making him fall and shatter his leg. At the trial, Gene refused to admit to causing Finny’s accident, proving that he cared more about his reputation than owning up to his
Open Document