Knowles concludes Gene’s thoughts when he says, “I never killed anybody and I never developed an intense level of hatred for the enemy. Because my war ended before I ever put on a uniform; I was on active duty all my time at school; I killed my enemy there. Only Phineas never was afraid, only Phineas never hated anyone.”(204) Gene realizes that his only enemy is himself and the wicked thoughts of the heart and mindset. He doesn’t have to fret anymore because he is finally able to move past all this and become what Finny wanted him to be, a part of him.
Although, A Separate Peace does not recount Gene’s life after the death of Phineas, there are very clear descriptions of how his moral reckoning with Phineas helped him develop as a person. “I never developed an intense hatred of the enemy [in the war] … I was on active duty all my time at school; I killed my enemy there” . In any person’s development there needs to be growth. Gene’s realization his inner demons allow him to progress past subordinate stages of development to live his life. Gene exists in a state of cognitive dissonance.
Gene also learns that people destruct themselves all of the time for no reason, believing that others are enemies when they actually are not.. This can be observed in the last lines of the book when Gene states, "All of them, all except Phineas, constructed at infinite cost to themselves these Maginot Lines against this enemy they thought they saw across the frontier, this enemy who never attacked that way -if he ever attacked at all; if he was indeed the enemy." The climax of the story occurs when Gene and Finny finally have a two-sited discussion about the incident at the tree. This tear-filled conversation makes each boy realize how much they actually care for each other.
The only thing they know is that they were fighting and killing their enemies for the peaceful life. They didn’t even know each other and they has done nothing wrong. Paul was upset when he saw the man’s photo of his family. People were suffering from the war. No one wants the war.
In the early pages of the novel, Finny confesses that Gene is his best friend. This is considered a courageous act as the students at Devon rarely show any emotion. And rather than coming back with similar affection, Gene holds back and says nothing. Gene simply cannot handle the fact that Finny is so compassionate, so athletic, so ingenuitive, so perfect. As he put it, "Phineas could get away with anything."
Susan reads it and tries to decipher whether it is truth or fiction, and if it can be published, as an autobiography of Paul. She suspects it is fake because of the fact of the fade. The next part is the next section of the book that Susan later finds, and it is about Paul when he is in his forties. It is just a continuation of his life, and he feels that the next fader is ready, so he goes out to find him. The next fader is named Ozzie, and he discovers the fade on his own, without Paul, and does bad things with it.
Brinker’s thinking reminds Gene of Finny’s theory about the fake-war conspiracy of “fat old men.” But for himself, Gene decides that the war arose from something “ignorant” within humanity itself. As Gene empties his locker to leave Devon for military service, he thinks of Finny and their friendship, which still remains a vital part of his life. Later, from his adult perspective, Gene believes that his war actually ended before he ever entered military service. He sees now that he killed his “enemy” at Devon, while Finny, always unique, never saw anyone or anything as his enemy.
Missing dinner or being absent from school for days to go to the beach did not even earn them a reprimand. “I think we reminded them of what peace was like, we boys of sixteen....We were careless and wild, and I suppose we could be thought of as a sign of the life the war was being fought to prese... ... middle of paper ... ...couldn’t see anyone as his enemy. Even Gene had his own enemy to kill, “I never killed anybody and I never developed an intense level of hatred for the enemy. Because my war ended before I ever put on a uniform; I was on active duty all my time at school; I killed my enemy there. Only Phineas never was afraid, only Phineas never hated anyone (Knowles 196).” To conclude, disillusionment played a sizeable role in the lives of Finny, Gene, and Leper.
A Separate Peace Dealing with enemies has been a problem since the beginning of time. “I never killed anybody,” Gene had commented later in his life, “And I never developed an intense level of hatred for the enemy. Because my war ended before I ever put on a uniform, I was on active duty all my time at Devon; I killed my enemy there.” In A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, the value of dealing with enemies is shown by Gene, who was dealing with few human enemies, but his emotions created far greater rivals than any human could ever posses. One of the enemies that Gene created for himself was jealousy. Gene was jealous of everything about Finny.
An analysis of John Knowles A Separate Peace brings up the theme of man's inhumanity to his fellow man. What makes this novel unique is that in protesting war, Knowles never overtly referred to the blood and gore of war; he showed the consequences of war, some paralleling the nature of war and some simply laying out how World War II affected noncombatants thousand miles away. There have been many books written about war, what happens, why it happens, and why wars should stop. Knowles explains through the life of Finny why war never will cease, with only one death in the entire book; a quiet one at that. When Gene is responsible for Finny's fall off the tree, the reader is in some confusion as to what really happened.