In John Knowles’s A Separate Peace, the students of Devon’s perception of reality changes from peacetime to wartime. Phineas’s perception changes as he refuses to accept any part of reality that he does not agree with, but events force him to accept it anyway. Gene views Phineas as a jealous competitor, but he comes to a realization about Phineas’s real nature. Leper and Brinker both view the war as a sort of opportunity. However, they both resent the war when they face it. During peacetime, Phineas creates his own reality, but later his classmates force him to accept the truth. Originally, Phineas only refuses to believe in silly things like Caesar, Latin, or the war. He views Caesar as “more of a tyrant at Devon than he had ever been in Rome” ( Knowles 162). However, his greatest denial comes when he purposely tries to forget about Gene jouncing the limb and tells Gene “I don’t know, I must have just lost my balance” (Knowles 66). As wartime creeps closer, suddenly his fake reality must disappear. Phineas comes to admit to Gene that the war exists and confides to him that “I’ll hate it everywhere if I’m not in this war!” but if some organization would allow him to enlist despite being disabled, “Then there would have been a war” (Knowles 190). Later, Brinker and several other classmates hold a mock trial for the incident at the tree. During this trial, Phineas begins to grow more and more angry as his classmates force him to admit to himself that Gene meant to jostle the limb. Eventually, Phineas gets overwhelmed by the …show more content…
In Finny’s case, he comes to accept a reality not of his creation. Gene goes from viewing Phineas as his rival to realizing that Finny was the only person who never hated and who was never afraid. Brinker and Leper see the truth of war after having such a fascination with the idea of having one to fight in and all the opportunities it could
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Thought Over Truth How do you know the whole story if you were only told from one perspective? A Separate Peace is a novel by John Knowles told during World War II, from the perspective of Gene Forrester, an intelligent, but not athletic student. Gene tells his memory of his senior year at Devon School, a school which only boys attend, but is his memory the whole truth? Gene has shown us that he is misleading and biased.
He envy’s Finny’s success, get angry because he feels Finny is trying to kill his studies, and fears that Finny will outshine him. Gene becomes his own enemy. “Because my war ended before I ever put on a uniform; I was on active duty all my time at school; I killed my enemy there” (Knowles 196). Gene was taken over by a mindless impulse. He believes that after Phineas’ death, he was able to overcome that very
Not only is there a physical war going on during the time, but also Gene’s internal war with himself. Gene becomes so consumed with jealousy toward Finny and his accomplishments that he intentionally hurts his best friend. Even though Finny never puts any pressure or expectations on Gene to become even within their environment, Gene internally struggles to accept his own identity. Gene’s sheltered environment causes him to become codependent on Finny in order to maintain his self-esteem and protect him from the outside world. World War II in the novel breaks the barrier and protection the Devon school provided for the boys.
A Changed Life: Pessimism to Optimism Just like no one can escape death no one can escape the aftermath of a traumatic event. Even though trauma isn’t escapable it is overcomeable. The traumatic events that occur throughout A Separate Peace would lead most to say that it is a pessimistic book, but there are much deeper findings that is optimistic in the book. The optimistic view of the book is looked upon and isn’t the most obvious choice of the two but has many provable points.
Gene becomes more and more jealous of Finny’s identity and therefore has to fight an internal battle against himself as his desire to be like Finny grows stronger and eventually leads to a tragedy. Gene is jealous of Finny because he can get away with anything. However, jealousy isn’t just a random feeling, it is a desire to obtain something that others have - sometimes no matter what the cost is. In the beginning of the novel, Finny decides to wear his pink shirt that his mom sent him, even though it was against school rules. Gene thinks that Finny is going to get in trouble for wearing a non-school uniform, but instead begins to understand that, “Phineas could get away with anything” (Knowles 25).
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
In the novel, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, Gene is a teenage boy who attends the boarding school called Devon. Devon is a sanctuary for young men before in the midst of World War II. The boys’ lives are surrounded by influences of war and influences on each other. Gene lives with his roommate Phineas (Finny) who he spends the majority of his time with. Being surrounding by each other all the time, all the boys in Devon influence who each other are.
Gene comes of age through his understanding of the difficult challenges in his youth. 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.
Gene believes that Finny and he hate each other, until he realizes Finny’s pureness, which Gene can not stand. At first, Gene believes that Finny wants to exceed him, and that the two are rivals. Everyone at Devon likes Finny. The teachers adore him, the students look up to him, the athletes aspire
“Don’t fear the enemy that attacks you, but the fake friend that hugs you” -PravineeHurbungs. It is still undecided weather Finny realized this about Gene or not but, even withWWII going on, the cruelest enemy was right next to him. A Separate Peace is a novel by JohnKnowles, based in New Hampshire, 1942. The novel showcases, coming-of-age, jealousy , andloss of innocence through the main character Gene. Gene and Finny became roommates at the prestige Devon School for boys.
John Knowles, author of A Separate Peace, uses both character development and setting to support his decision in selecting the title. He uses the main characters of Gene and Phineas (Finny) and their troubled yet deeply bonded friendship as a way to illustrate the separate peace that takes place both within the boys themselves and in the friendship that is built between the two. Knowles also uses the setting of the novel to demonstrate the vast difference between the peaceful Devon School grounds and the war raging outside of the school’s walls. The title, A Separate Peace, as chosen by the author is symbolic of the main characters, Finny and Gene’s, struggle to find peace within themselves and with each other while set in a place that significantly contrasts the events of the real world.
Throughout the course of the book, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, one character, Phineas, displays his traits in many ways. Phineas, better known as Finny, lives at an all boys school called Devon during the time of World War Two. He is a boy that gets into trouble, does not stay on task, and is a carefree person that like to have adventures. He brings his best friend and roommate, Gene, along with him to whatever mischief he gets into and throughout the book the reader gets an insight of what their lives were like. During the book, Finny is unaware, impulsive, and strong.
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
Overall Gene is known to be the character that has worries and lets emotional situations get the best of him. Continuously throughout the story Gene allows what happens to Finny and the world around him slowly bring him down. The war acts as another filler for disaster in society and can get the best of the boys who are preparing to fight in it. Therefore Gene’s identity in A Separate Peace defines him as the weaker one the one who is sensitive.
“A Separate Peace” portrays how Gene’s envy and imitation affects himself, his relationship with Finny, and how he finds his peace, or lack thereof, at the end of the book. 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).