In John Knowles, fictional novel, A Separate Peace, he uses internal conflict to ensure the reader’s understanding of a true friendship. Gene brings Finny’s suitcase to the infirmary, and the boys finally talk about the accident. Finny is an emotional mess and begins to cry. He asks Gene, “It was just some blind impulse you had in the tree there, you didn’t know what you were doing. Was that it” (191)? Finny is so hurt because he cannot believe that Gene would deliberately hurt him. Finny tells Gene that he understands that Gene acted without really thinking, and Finny forgives Gene. This shows the reader the true personality of Finny. He is kind, carefree, reckless, real, and loves unconditionally. He cannot accept that anyone close to
A Separate Peace has a very unique description of friendship. Throughout the book, Gene is jealous of Finny’s looks and what he is able to do. Gene has a lot of ambivalent feelings toward Finny. He wants to be Finny, but at the same time he is jealous of him. They are supposed to be best friends, but Gene envies him and thinks he is trying to make him look bad. After Finny’s accident, Gene struggled with guilt and his life was changed because of it.
Strength develops in someone through their experiences which have the ability to make them an emotionally stronger person. A quote by Ernest Hemingway presents that “the world breaks everyone, then some become strong at the broken places.” Even those who suffer the most will have the ability to bounce back at a stronger state. This theme reveals its relevance in A Separate Peace by John Knowles as we analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the main characters, Finny and Gene. Although some may insist that Finny’s emotional state fits the mold of a weak character, I have confidence that Finny has the most inner strength out of the two boys given his description and actions throughout the novel.
Finny’s fall is symbolic of a fall from innocence. To start, Gene’s belief that Finny was trying to sabotage his education evokes doubt about their friendship. In order to outdo Finny, Gene “…took a step toward him, and then my knees bent and I jounced the limb. Finny, his balance gone, swung his head to look at me…and hit the bank with a sickening, unnatural thud” (Knowles 60). At that point, Gene discovers the reality of hatred and envy between people, as he is responsible for Finny’s fall and injury. The event of Gene deliberately hurting Finny shows that Gene feels some level of resentment, a sure sign of adulthood. Furthermore, the day
“Our minds are a battle ground between good and bad ideas; we are whatever side wins the battle” Bangambiki Habyarimana, The Great Pearl of Wisdom. The struggle between good and evil is found universally. In the novel A Separate Peace, Gene Forrester struggles between his own inner good and evil. Gene's actions often reflect his feelings, leading him to trouble, giving the illusion that Gene is filled with more evil than good. However, Gene's goodness can be found even through dark times. Inherent evil does not lie in Gene Forrester because he desires to be the best he can be, he feels guilt, and matures from adolescence to adulthood.
Gene from John Knowles novel, A Separate Peace, a dynamic character changes in accordance to the events of the story.
The story “A Separate Peace”, written by John Knowles, was written at the time and takes place during World War II when battles and conflicts amongst nations were evident. Each nation involved struggled and fought their hardest in order to satisfy the good of their nation. Not only is the setting in the story taking place during this time of quarrel, the story also demonstrates areas of self-conflict and an internal battle throughout. The characters in “A Separate Peace”, are described as experiencing this self-conflicting, internal battle. Gene (also the narrator) is specifically depicted as he goes through his battle in life. Gene’s relationship with his “best friend” Phineas describes how the relationship resulted in the killing of Gene's enemy, his own youth, and innocence. Gene is plainly described in the novel as envious of Finny, he is also depicted as the position of much hatred and dismay by his peers. Therefore, the fact that Gene kills his own youth is likely considering Finny’s success, Gene’s jealousy towards
One day, thetwo boys were on top of the tree and a large sense of envy came over Gene, he shook the treebranch. Finny loses his balance, trying to reach for Gene. Gene, who does not move, he letsFinny fall. Finny shattered his leg and was told he could never play sports again. This is a keypoint in the novel which showed Gene at his lowest point where he let his emotions get the bestof him. Throughout the rest of the book Knowles keeps stating Gene’s thoughts of regret andFinny’s disbelief of the situation. In a true friendship, if one was feeling a great amount jealousy,one would most likely talk it through or at least think through the situation instead of trying tocause physical harm to them.Once summer session is over, Brinker Hadley comes into the two boys room unaware ofFinny’s return and asks Gene if he is ready to enlist which they talked about prior to Finny’sreturn. Finny who wanted nothing more to be able to enlist was thinking about losing his bestfriend but reacted differently. He kind of shook it off and went to shower. Gene deciding not toleave because of Finny.t this shows how they have more of a rivalry than a friendship just by theway he handles the situation. Normally a friend would he happy and supportive towards the othereven if they can not do it. Finny was the opposite.The last main event that would shake the friendship to more of a rivalry was in Chapter12, Finny angrily left a room because he still did not want to believe Gene pushed him.Unfortunately, he fell down the marble stairs causing him to break his leg again. After this hefinally realized he would not be able to enlist like everyone else and Gene snaps on him stating,“Phineas, you wouldn’t be any good in the war, even if nothing had happened to your leg.”(12.190) This leading into a blowout and Finny coming to senses with what Gene actually did tohim. That was the last conversation they
“Then a second realization broke as clearly and bleakly as dawn at the beach. Finny had deliberately set out to wreck my studies.” (24) Gene thinks this after going to the beach with Finny and ruining his grade because of the lack of studying due to his time spent having fun. This is just one example of how Gene thinks there's some sort of ongoing competition between themselves, causing Gene to be extremely jealous, self concerning and over analyzing about every situation instead of just enjoying the fun the two have as Finny does. Even though Gene acts like this he is still very friendly and a good person. At Devon, Leper is an outcast who Gene befriends again because no one else seems to understand him but gene. This shows how although Gene has swayed emotions, underneath all he is a good person who doesn't mind taking another friend even if it means he is viewed differently for being around Leper. Along with that after braking Finny’s leg and finding out Finny will never play sports again, Gene wishes he had been the one to break his leg. Further showing how at heart Gene is a good friend. Gene’s widespread personality lead to him acquiring a diverse description, including jealousy, self preservation, over analysing, but friendly
Gene’s jealousy towards Finny’s perfect personality causes him to have childish emotions, such as resentment. Gene Forrester constantly battles within himself clashing emotions, specifically, hate and envy, towards Phineas. Since he strives to be like Finny, Gene does everything in his power to shove down his feelings of hatred and jealousy. After Finny beat the school swimming record, Gene suspiciously asks himself why Finny did not want him to share the news with anyone else. Because Finny refused to tell anyone, but Gene, about his record-breaking achievement, Gene is baffled as to why Finny would not want to. It seems as though Gene is imagining himself in Finny’s shoes as he mentions, “Was he trying to impress me or something? Not tell anybody? When he had broken a school record without a day of practice? I
The main purpose Gene had in the novel was to beat his fellow 's students, he went to extreme lengths to become the best. “Holding firmly to the trunk, I took a step toward him, and then my knees bent and I jounced the limb. Finny, his balance was gone, swung his head around to look at me for an instant with extreme interest…” (page 59-60). Gene and his jealousy towards Finny overtook Gene and he jolted Finny off the branch resulting in him breaking his leg and not being able to play sports. Finny not being able to play sports anymore that meant Gene was next in line for the top athlete at Devon. In addition, this incident leads to Finny having several health issues and dying towards the end of the novel. Gene knew that Finny had no admirations towards him and that made him angered. Gene was hurt when Finn died but he still didn’t change once he went to war or when he came back to visit Devon in his elder years. “He had never been jealous of me for a second. 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.“ (page 59). Gene wanted Finny to care about Gene and have a concern if Gene was going to beat him in sports, Gene had issues when facing Finny’s confidence. Therefore, Gene always tried to make Finny jealous and that pushed him to hurt him in the
Gene’s survival was dependent on Finny’s death. When Gene jounces the limb he shatters Finny’s leg, as well as his heart. Finny knows that Gene purposely caused his fall, but can’t let his “best pal” be exposed. Finny will do anything to save Gene from Leprosy. Finny realizes that Gene “just didn’t know” what he had done, and forgives his sin, which saves Gene. Without forgiveness, Gene would still be living in fear and hate, buried by his burden. Gene learns tremendously from his experiences. All his enemies were imagined, there was no need for “Maginot Lines” to protect himself from an enemy that didn’t exist. After Finny’s funeral Gene becomes “Phineas-filled” and his “war is over before it ever begins.” Gene realizes, “I was ready for the war, now that I no longer had any hatred to contribute to it. My fury was gone… Phineas had absorbed it and taken it with him, and I was rid of it forever” (195). Gene fights his “war” with himself, not Finny. Although Gene alone was responsible for his death, Finny forgives him and makes Gene ready for the war, now that his hatred has left. Gene returns to Devon to confront his problems and cleanse himself. Finny’s pink shirt can’t make Gene’s problems go away, Gene must confront them himself. He needs to move on with his life, after living in fear for 15 years. Upon Gene’s return, he notices several differences. The tree seems to have “withered
One way Gene’s jealousy and imitation is an effect on his relationship with Finny is that it caused lots of jealousy towards Finny because of his abilities, appearance, and actions. An example of this is when Gene stated “He had gotten away with everything. I felt a sudden stab of disappointment. That was because I just wanted to see some more excitement; that must have been it." (Knowles). Gene wanted Finny to get in trouble for what Finny had did, which had worn his tie as a belt. He hated that Finny got away with almost anything that he did wrong and wanted to go down someday. Another way their relationship is affected is through Gene’s lack of self-finding and liking. Gene hated that he never was like Finny, so he started to acting and do things that Finny did. That caused a lot of jealousy, guilt, and self-destruction from throughout the relationship that Gene and Finny had. Even through Gene’s envy and imitation effected his relationship with Finny, he still managed to find peace within everything that happened.
Gene’s envy and imitation of Finny affects him in many ways. He starts to believe he was meant to become a part of Finny. After Finny broke his leg from falling out of a tree, he tells Gene that he must play sports for him. Gene then thinks to himself “and I lost part of myself to him then, and a soaring sense of freedom revealed that this must have been my purpose from the first: to become part of Phineas,” (Knowles 85). Since Finny cannot play sports anymore because of his broken leg, he tells Gene that he has to do it for him. Gene realizes that this is his destiny; to become an extension of Phineas. Another way he is affected is that he starts to lose his own ways by copying Finny. When Finny was in the hospital wing of the school, Gene put his clothes on and said “that I would never stumble through the confessions