A Separate Peace

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Difference Too Often Leads to Hate

Many times in the world, differences have lead to hate. Think of Martin Luther King, for example, who stood for fighting against one of the largest differences. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, is one of many examples of differences leading to hate. Gene and Finny, who somehow managed to become friends, have completely different views of each other. Finny wanted to be friends with Gene, but had trouble facing the reality that Gene felt differently. Gene became jealous over Finny’s difference to himself. Difference has led to hate, once more, and pain has again resulted, first mentally and emotionally, then finally physically.
Knowles creates Gene as one who always is strictly trying to comply with the rules and regulations, always obeying his superiors; completely different then that of Finny’s personality. “Over your head? Pink! It makes you look like a fairy!” (909). Considering such, he envies Finny, because Finny can ‘get away with murder’ if he wanted to, and can stay out of trouble doing so. “Phineas could get away with anything. I couldn’t help envying him…a little” (909). Knowles shows how much jealousy Gene had over Finny’ s ability to stay out of trouble, no matter what he did. “This time he wasn’t going to get away with it.” (909). He would rather be in accordance to the rules and be on his best behavior, than to be a rebel who goes against everything. Finny, on the other hand was more of a rebel. “I wonder what would happen if I looked like a fairy to everyone.” (909). Finny, more of a rebel, is very outgoing; he, however shows himself off as a perfect individual. One day at Devon, he gets into small dispute because he wore the school tie as a belt. This he frees himself from quickly, explaining, “It goes with the shirt and it all ties together…with what we’ve been talking about, this bombing in Central Europe.” (910). Complying with not only Devon’s rules and regulations, but also the standards of formal conduct, Gene has a strong instinct to follow order, guided by careful thought, which Knowles has implanted in him, throughout the text.
Gene is a person who thinks before he acts. “What was I doing up here anyway? Why did I let Finny talk me into stupid things like this?” (906). He is an individualist with distinct and well-thought characteristics.

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