Theme Of Pride In A Separate Peace

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The legend of the Fountain of Youth says that anyone who should drink from or bathe in the waters of the fountain will have their youth restored. The legend has endured for thousands of years; one of the first accounts of its existence is in the writings of a Greek historian named Herodotus from 5 BCE. People have always lusted after youth and innocence, and often they lust in vain. In contrast, author Joe Hill claimed in one of his novels, “Innocence ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, you know. Innocent little kids rip the wings off flies, because they don’t know any better. That’s innocence.” In the case of Phineas, one of the main characters in John Knowles’ A Separate Peace, Hill is correct. The innocence and youthfulness which Phineas…show more content…
Phineas, still possessing the same traits and frame of mind he had at the beginning of the novel, never expects this of Gene and never even knew of the deadly rivalry Gene thought was between them. In spite of this, Gene’s hatred comes to a violent head. Gene describes the point at which he boils over, “Holding firmly to the trunk, I took a step toward him, and then my knees bent and I jounced the limb. Finny, his balance gone, swung his head around to look at me for an instant with extreme interest, and then he tumbled sideways, broke through the little branches below and hit the bank with a sickening, unnatural thud” (Knowles 52). This was the moment in which Gene lost his innocence and entered a world of turmoil. Gene’s jealousy finally inspired him to push Finny out of a tree, and Finny never saw it coming; he was unable to foresee any sort of betrayal. Moreover, when Finny fell out of the tree, he fell into the clean, waters of the Devon River, which proves that Finny has not been tainted by jealousy or hatred. His innocence allowed him to be betrayed, but in the words of Joseph Joubert, “Innocence is always unsuspicious.” Finny was unsuspicious that his best friend would hurt him which is exactly what caused him to get

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