A Separate Peace

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John Knowles tells the story of a young adolescent approaching adulthood and the war he must fight in. The main character, Gene, has a nonexistent rivalry with his best friend, Finny. Throughout the beginning of the novel, Gene tries to compete with everything Finny does, and then assumes that Finny was jealous of him. However, as the viewers saw Finny get injured and then die, they also saw Gene mature and develop as an adult. In my opinion, this tells the story of two boys growing up, and the struggles that come with it. Finny’s changing outlook, Gene’s loss of innocence, and their friendship symbolizes the transition from childhood to adulthood.
Finny’s care-free nature in the beginning of the book allows him to live vicariously, but as he matures, he begins to act somber until his death. This transformation not only allows Finny to mature, but it permits Gene to mature as well. After jumping off the tree for the first time in the beginning of the book, Finny attempts to weasel his way out of trouble by speaking his mind to a substitute teacher, Mr. Prud’homme, and it works. “Mr. Prud’homme released his breath with a sort of amazed laugh, stared at Finny for a while, and that was all there was to it.” (pg. 23) This shows Finny’s charisma and disregard for rules. By the end of the book, Finny had matured enough that he had almost lost the spark that he always had. Later in the book, Gene recalled Finny after an argument, “He brought his wide-set eyes up, his grin flashed and faded, and then he murmured, ‘Sure. There isn’t any war.’” (pg. 158) The war puts a burden on all the student’s shoulders, and Finny took it the hardest because he was not able to fight. The light in Finny’s eyes disappears a...

... middle of paper ... Finny and Gene’s friendship changed many times over the course of the book, and it also changed the way the narration was written.
The bond Gene and Finny shares goes through much hardship throughout the course of the novel, and the fact that a draft is approaching puts more stress on their shoulders. The reoccurring theme of adulthood is constantly spamming the book, but it gives the reader a sense of what the world was like and how it will be. I like to analyze this story by comparing the two boys to seeds; they start out oblivious and weak, and then grow into a flower, or an adult. I also like to compare Gene and Finny to two support structures that are supporting each other. When Finny died, Gene sort of fell with him. However, years later, or at the beginning of the book, he found peace with himself for all he had done – a separate peace.
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