Knowles' Separate Peace Essays: Maturity in A Separate Peace

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Maturity in A Separate Peace

In A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, the focus spotlight is quickly turned upon Gene Forrester and his maturity through the novel. He expresses his ideas about the many subjects through the book through his position as the novel's narrator. Also, as the book progresses, so does Gene's maturity.
The first chapter of A Separate Peace establishes the character Gene
Forrester, who in actuality is a portrayal of John Knowles himself, according to a recent interview. In this establishment of the main character, Gene sets his place as a grown up and fully matured man, looking back on an incident when he was only sixteen years old. He vividly describes Devon High School as he currently saw, and as he remembered from the days of his past. The description provided in this chapter proves to the reader that in the events following this soliloquy, a young character will emerge, and will grow into the man they just read about.
In Chapter Two and Three, Gene develops a close bond with his roommate
Finny. However, Gene, develops a sheer envy for Finny, and acknowledges it as the truth. He is extremely envious of the methods in which Finny uses to escape his unconventional actions and his popularity. He doctors himself in self-assurance, by repeatedly telling himself over and over again that having a best friend like Finny is a compliment and should be looked at as an achievement. However, this excuse is transparent of Gene's maturity at this point, portraying a very young, foolish, and selfish young man. It later leads to inner conflict within Gene. During this chapter, Finny and Gene brainstorm and create the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Se...

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...orced him to grow up; it has forced him to realize his boyish selfishness and stupidity behind some of his actions. In the last two chapters, Gene depicts to the reader the thought process in which his mind goes through. Especially in Chapter Twelve, where the book draws to the climax of Gene finding meaning to the environment surrounding him.
A great deal of growing and heartfelt thoughts was brought forth by having Gene as the narrator. The reader was allowed to see inside the mind of another human, and see the thought process that went through the young man's head. The realization that the mind controls the mental growth is very strong throughout the whole book, considering the very immature outlook Gene took upon Finny and the events involving Finny, which evolve into carefully thought out remorse that grows into much needed maturity.
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