Gene and Finny in A Separate Piece

Satisfactory Essays
In the novel A Separate Peace, the author John Knowles creates a unique relationship between the two main characters Gene Forrester and Phineas, also known as Finny. The boys have a love hate relationship, which becomes the base of the problems throughout the book. The setting of this novel, a preparatory school in New Hampshire known as Devon, creates a peaceful environment where World War will not corrupt the boys. The boys might be protected from the war, but they are not protected from each other. Throughout the book Finny manipulates Gene. These reoccurring manipulations cause Gene to follow in Finny's footsteps and begin to live through Finny. The lives of the two boys change dramatically when an accident occurs. Instead of Gene living through Finny, Finny begins to live through Gene.

In the beginning to the middle of the book Gene lives through Finny. ‘"Come on,' drawled Finny from below, ‘stop standing there showing off.'…‘Jump!'"(Knowles 9). Finny thought of an extremely adventurous idea. He decided that he wanted to jump out of a tree into the river below. Finny also wanted the other boys that were with him to jump out of the tree. After Finny jumped he attempted to persuade Gene to follow his lead and jump out of the tree. Gene, a very conservative individual, did not even dream of ever jumping out of the tree but Finny got his way. Gene climbed the tree and jumped into the river because Finny manipulated him to. ‘"Studying! You know, books. Work. Examinations'" (Knowles 49). Finny has come to tell Gene that one of the boys named Leper has finally decided to jump out of the tree into the river. Gene finally explodes and starts screaming at Finny. Gene tells Finny that he needs to study for the French final and that he cannot be wasting his time with a silly game. At this moment in time, Finny finally realized that Gene actually has to study in order to get good grades. Finny always thought that school for Gene came just as easily as sports did for him. When Finny realizes this he tells Gene that he has to study. ‘"Don't move from that desk. It's straight A's for you'"(Knowles 50). All of a sudden Gene became perplexed. He could not understand that Finny was actually telling him to stay home and study.
Get Access