The Hostility Between Gene and Finny in A Separate Peace by John Knowles

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The Hostility Between Gene and Finny in A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Gene feels increasing hostility toward Finny before his fall from the

tree. In the novel A SEPARATE PEACE by John Knowles, the hostility

between Gene and Finny increase because of the competition inside of them

both to be better then one another. It is about the increasing competition

between Gene and Finny and the hostility it brings. The hostility finally burst

inside Gene and for one instant it takes over. It makes him do something he

will always regret. Gene’s increasing hostility towards Finny finally brings

the down fall of their friendship.

Gene’s first form of hostility toward Finny was the realization that

Finny could get away with anything. First instance was when Finny was

wearing his emblem, the pink button-down shirt, and Mr. Patch-Withers

came up to him. Mr. Patch-Withers ask him about the shirt and Finny told

him the meaning of the shirt. As he explained the substitute headmaster

became more amused about the situation and allowed Finny to get away

with breaking the school dress code. After this instance Gene admitted to

being envious of Finny in this Quote, “I was beginning to see that Phineas

could get away with anything. I couldn’t help envying him that a little,

which is perfectly normal. There was no harm in envying your best friend

a little.” (18) In this quote Gene is just saying that he envies his best

friend for some thing that he can’t do. This situation is the first of many

forms of hostility towards Finny that brings about the incident in the tree.

At the Patch-Withers party anther sign of Gene’s increasing envy towards

Finny is shown. This happens when Finny again gets away with breaking

the dress code. At the party when discussing the bombing of Europe, Mr.

Patch-Withers discovers that Finny is wearing the school tie with his pink

shirt. With some quick anecdotes about how his shirt is a contribution to

the war effort and also be glad he wore a belt because his pants could fall

down. With these quick anecdotes Finny got away with it, gave Mr.

Patch-Withers a good laugh and enraged Gene’s envy towards Finny.

Gene gave this quote about the instance, “He (Finny) had gotten away

with everything. I felt a sudden stab of disappointment........” (21) Gene

really does not know what he is feeling he says, but deep down it is hi...

... middle of paper ...

...out to

wreck my studies. That explained blitzball, that explained the nightly

meetings of the Super Suicide Society.............Sure he wanted to share

everything with me , especially his D’s in every subject. That way he, the

great athlete, would be way ahead of me. It was all cold trickery, it was all

calculated, it was all enmity.” (45) Gene thinks he was doing this by

cramming his schedule with clubs and sports so that he won’t have time to

study and wreck his school grades. Then Finny can be better than him at

everything. Gene’s misunderstanding of Finny, not understanding that Gene

did need to study and that it did not come naturally, enraged Gene more

making him ready to explode. “I (Finny) didn’t know you needed to study.”

(50) When Finny said this Gene took it way out of proportion making it

Gene’s final straw. Gene was so enraged that he could not take it that Finny

only meant that brains came natural. With the final straw gone Gene lost it.

His mind was in such confusion that he followed Finny out to the tree. He

climbed up it, and with out any regard for human life, Gene exploded. He

shook the limb making Finny lose his balance and fall to the ground.
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