Tension In John Knowles A Separate Peace

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During the late 1930’s and early to mid1940’s, Allies were fighting the axis powers in WW2. Along with the high tensions amongst countries, there was also high tension amongst civilian lives. John Knowles’ A Separate Peace clearly shows the tension within a friendship similar to that of Britain’s and Germany’s relationship. Through Allegory, John Knowles shows the tension within two friends that eventually leads to their inevitable demise. The symbolic items in the book are: Gene, the main character, Finny, the deuteragonist, and Finny’s pink shirt. In the book A Separate Peace, Gene is symbolic of Britain because he follows the rules, is straight laced, and is conscience of society. Gene also considered Finny a threat, just like Britain Considered Germany a threat. In chapter one, Finny and …show more content…

I was not of the same quality as he.” (Knowles 51) After that thought, Gene shakes the limb if the tree and allows Finny to fall and break his leg. This shows that, like Britain, Gene contemplates his friendship with Finny/Germany. The act of betrayal shown by Gene is similar to the declaration of war to Germany by Britain. Britain tries to cancel out Germany early out before Germany can grow into a superpower and cause mayhem, Similar to that, Gene tries to injure Finny so that Finny won’t excel and out do Gene. This quote also shows that Gene feels like Finny is a threat and should be watched carefully, just like Britain considered Germany a threat and watched Germany’s action with a close eye. Gene sees how Finny acts without a care in the world because things come along easily to Finny. Gene considers Finny to be his superior in every way, yet Finny is not bitter towards Gene and is actually happy towards him. It is Gene who has a small hatred for Finny, which spawns from the belief that Finny is superior to him. This leads to Gene physically rendering Finny in an injured state to secure Gene’s belief that they are now equal.

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