Growth can only come from hardships and struggle. John Knowles, author of A Separate Peace, uses conflict to shape Gene Forrester into an adult. In the beginning of the novel, Gene illustrates an envious and spiteful character. But as the story progresses, he transforms into a confident, and restored person. Eventually, Gene’s innocence is lost through a self-inflicted battle, which conveys him to adulthood.
Gene can't match his physique but after Finny's accident Gene goes through Finny's clothes and looks at himself in a mirror. He looks like Finny and “was Phineas, Phineas to the life. I even had his humorous expression in my face, his sharp, optimistic awareness. I had no idea why this gave me such intense relief, but it seemed, standing there in Finny’s triumphant shirt, that I would never stumble through the confusions of my own character again. ”(Knowles 29).
Gene’s constantly changing tone is a direct result of his desire to mirror the tone of the most capable leader available, which is always that of either Finny or Brinker. First of all, the peer who offers the most leadership is Finny. Gene has a desire to become Finny, so he tries to emulate everything he does: he attempts to emulate his actions, his recklessness, and even his tone. While Gene by no means immaculately mimics Finny’s tone, it becomes very clear that it is his intent to try to become Finny in every way, shape, and form. Gene outright states this, saying, “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 a part of Phineas” (Knowles 85).
A Separate Peace, Unit Test Hamza Eldohiri 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 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.
A loving friend turns murderer after his retched jealousness and overanalyzing pushes him to new lows. In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the true character of Gene Forrester is shown as he narrates his point of view of the story. Gene Forrester is a relatable ever changing, humanistic, and someone who is always in contention. Although at points Gene seems mentally unstable, he is a round, dynamic character that adapts and is generally mentally sound. Gene being the narrator of his own story shows from his perspective just how he views people and their interactions.
Guilt is a funny concept, that has a different affects on different people. Guilt can cause some to confess and it releases the burden, but for those who take long to confess, it can turn into a negative reaction that can cripple your emotions. A Separate Peace is set in a boarding school in New England. Gene, a main character, is an incisive introvert whose best friend, Phineas, is a handsome athlete. When an accident occurs over the Summer, that leaves Gene and Finny hurt in some way, what comes next could take a toll on their friendship.
In the beginning of the novel, Gene returns to Devon to understand what happened in 1942. This is important because Gene seeks to console the guilt he has faced. Furthermore, Gene shows his shame after Finny was jounced off the tree. Remorse over Finny's injury ate Gene up, causing Gene to not participate in sports. Gene feels disgrace while in the infirmary thinking, "If Phineas had been sitting here in this pool of guilt...what would he have done?"
He still encourages Gene to do the things that Finny no longer can because he wants to see someone else flourish, and most importantly: his friend. After Finny’s death, Gene even declares that “nothing … had broken [Finny’s] harmonious and natural unity” (Knowles 203). Since Gene exclaims this, the reader understands that Finny
Since Gene was the one to jounce the limb of the tree and put Finny off balance he takes the responsibility for the accident. This proves that gene has the identity for being the worrier and the responsible one. Each time something bad happens Gene feels like he is responsible and doesn't want anyone to know that he is. Since he is known to be the nerd he doesn't want his identity to his friends to become worse.
Charles Kuralt once said, “ The love of family and the admirations of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.” This quote shows how jealousy and popularity aren’t as important as relationships in your life. In the book, A Separate Peace, Gene has different priorities than relationships. Gene, a young boy who attends Devon boarding school, goes through many different trials along his grade school journey. He faces problems with friends and school life during the time of World War two and the draft being in full swing.
“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide” (Emerson). The character Gene learns of this not until after many trials and a great tragedy. In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the idea of self-reliance is greatly stressed. The novel A Separate Peace conveys how Gene’s envy and imitation of Finny affect him, how Gene’s envy and imitation affect their relationship with Finny, and Gene’s achievement of peace. The envy towards and imitation of Funny greatly affect Gene.
Even through Gene’s envy and imitation effected his relationship with Finny, he still managed to find peace within everything that happened. Throughout A Separate Peace, Gene found peace within himself and within his relationship with Finny. The first reason this is so is because he (Gene) realizes that Finny isn’t the enemy after all. In An Overview of “A Separate Peace”, Alton states, “
A War of Self In his novel, A Separate Peace, Knowles uses the story of Gene Forrester to examine a dark aspect of human nature. Gene Forrester, the novel’s protagonist, fights an inner battle of jealousy and hatred towards his best friend, Phineas. Phineas, an athlete, charismatic charmer, and fearless boy is someone that Gene wishes he could be. Gene creates an enemy out of Phineas in his mind because of the “competition” that is their friendship.