Analysis Of A Separate Peace By John Knowles

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The Envious Friend Jealously drives people to unthinkable and incomprehensible actions that is understood least of all by those responsible for it. John Knowles wrote a novel called A Separate Peace that takes place in New Hampshire. Gene, the narrator of A Separate Peace, is a conformist, genius, but envious southern boy that plays an important part in this novel. A Separate Peace depicts how Gene’s envy and imitation of Finny affect him, his relationship with Finny, and his achievement of peace. Gene’s envy and imitation of Finny affects him. One way Gene is affected is by him losing his own identity to Finny’s identity. For example Gene states, “I was Phineas, Phineas to the life” (Knowles 33).Gene tried on Phineas’ clothes and felt a sense…show more content…
One way their relationship is affected when Gene no longer trusts Finny .Gene remarked, “There was a swift chain of explosions in my brain, one certainty after another blasted- up like a denotation went the idea of any best friend, up went affection and partnership and sticking by someone absolutely in the jungle of boy’s school, up went the hope that there was anyone in school- in this world whom I could trust” (Knowles 28).Gene does not trust Finny because he thinks Finny is set out to destroy him and his studies. Gene is smart and has the chance of being top of his class, but he feels Finny do not want him to succeed. Another way Finny and Gene’s relationship is affected is when Gene jounced the tree causing Finny’s accident and lies but get caught in the process. Leper comments, “One of them was next to the trunk, holding the trunk of the tree. I’ll never forget that because the tree was a huge black shape too, and his hand touching the black trunk anchored him, if you see what I mean, to something solid in all the bright fire they were standing in up there .And the other one was a little further out on the limb” (Knowles 105).Finny was hurt when he finds out Gene caused the accident and lied about it. He was so angry from the information that was told to him he left and fell down the stairs, causing an even bigger accident. Finny dies from the accident and Gene loses apart of himself in the process…show more content…
He finds his true identity when he is apart from Finny. Gene notes, “During the time I was with him, Phineas created an atmosphere in which I continued how to live, a way of sizing up the world with erratic and entirely personal reservations, letting its rock life facts sift through and be accepted only little at a time, only as he could assimilate without sense of chaos and loss” (Knowles 121). Gene finds his identity and embraces it through remembrance of Finny. He accepts who he has become. He also finds peace by fighting his own private war growing up. Alton states,” In the end , inner peace is achieved only after fighting one’s own, private war growing up. In this sense the war is symbolic also of inner struggle from adolescence to maturity”. Gene acknowledges that his real enemy is himself and that he caused all his vicious acts because of his envy, hatred, and fear of growing up. After fifteen years, Gene realizes that the problem was not Finny but himself, and he discovers his peace and happiness now that he has fought his war. In A Separate Peace, Gene’s envy and imitation of Finny helps him discover and find peace within himself. Corruption comes from the struggles and feelings within. Failure only comes from inner thoughts, feelings, and actions. Growing up is a part of life. Do not fear
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