The Importance Of Envy In A Separate Peace By John Knowles

671 Words3 Pages
When most people think of envy, they think of a competition that pushes someone to improve themselves to be like another person. While it is true that envy can definitely have a positive impact, in A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the reality of envy is displayed when Gene hurts his best friend Finny. The overpowering feeling can take over a person and bring them suspicion that can cause them to commit poor actions leaving them damaged and changed forever.
The first place we see this in the book is when Gene starts suspecting Finny of planning a master scheme to wreck his academic success. Gene was very committed to his studies and he didn’t want anything to stop him from obtaining his full potential. He realized that the friendship he and
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Gene started to wear Finny’s clothes that he had left there, holding himself like Finny, and eventually gaining Finny’s old status. People looked at him the way they had used to look at Finny. “I was Phineas, Phineas to the life,” Gene stated about himself. He himself knew what he was becoming and it was exactly what he had envied for for so long, though he knew what he had done to hurt Finny and felt extremely guilty about the situation. He decided to go visit Finny at his home on a break and check up on him as well as attempt to tell him what had actually happened that day at the tree. He arrived at his house and when he told him it was him that moved the branch, Finny didn’t believe him and told him to leave. Finally, Finny came back to Devon and they both knew the damage that had been done because of Gene’s envy. They never regained their friendship and were both broken from what happened. Over all, envy is a horribly conquering sensation that can take over a person’s right state of mind in a matter of a very short period of time. Gene was definitely a character that many people can relate to in real life and can compare situations to. Lots of people use envy to encourage themselves to strive to be better, but when it’s taken too far many relationships, feelings, and people can be hurt
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