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Factors Contributing to the Ups and Downs of Friendship in Knowles’ A Separate Peace

The absence or presence of invidiousness has the potency to strengthen or dismember friendships. In John Knowles’ A Separate Peace, Gene Forrester and his daring roommate, Finny, discover the dangerous impact of enviousness on their friendship. Gene’s jealousy of Finny’s athletic capabilities, Finny’s unenviable thoughts and actions, and Brinker’s suspicions that Gene’s envy catalyzed Finny’s accident were all contributing factors to the ups and downs in Gene’s and Finny’s relationship.
Detesting a friend for his/her successes can rupture even the strongest relationships. Gene’s invidiousness of Finny’s numerous sports achievements transforms into a resentful hatred. One day, when the boys are about to perform their daily ritual of jumping off the tree into the wild river, Gene blindly jostles the tree branch, resulting in Finny’s dangerous fall which shatters his leg. Later in the novel, when Gene admits shaking the tree limb, Finny is infuriated and refuses to believe that Gene would commit such a horrendous act. As a result, Gene becomes aware that “Finny is injured by his confession, more than the accident” itself (Knowles 57). The quote expresses that Gene’s avowal saddens Finny even more than his physical injury. Finny is irate because after displaying only kindness to Gene, he received an afflictive detriment in return. After this feud, tension and uneasiness between the boys increases, and Gene is overtaken by an uncomfortable coat of guilt. This event exhibited how Gene’s jealousy of his considerate companion led to a serious action which not only greatly influenced their friendship, but also damaged Finny’s health and life. After Gene’s confession, the boy’s friendship was nearly broken because of the presence of envy ...

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...couldn’t handle the pressure of “courtroom”. The author conveys that Finny is extremely saddened that Gene let invidiousness get the best of him, and control him in dangerous ways. Like previously proven events, Gene’s envy was the ultimate force that slowly deteriorated the boy’s friendship.
Friendships can be hurt or toughened by the lack or presence of jealousy. The significant influence of envy on friendships is discovered by Gene and Finny through Gene’s jealous nature, Finny’s unenviable nature, and Brinker’s suspicions on the impact of Gene’s envy on Finn. Through the novel, the author expressed that invidiousness never affects anyone positively. For the betterment of oneself and of modern society, everyone is advised praise their personal successes and appreciate the achievements of others. No one will improve themselves by envying the triumphs of others.

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