a separate peace

Good Essays
A friendship without mutual love and respect leads to selfishness and jealousy. In A Separate Peace, Gene remains envious of his best friend: Finny’s good looks, his ability to charm everyone that he meets, his ability to take charge, and his natural athleticism. As their friendship flourishes, Gene becomes desirous of Finny’s physical appearance and his build. Finny uses his ability to take charge and organizes the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session. Before each meeting, Finny and Gene jump from the tree that overlooks the river. Prior to one meeting, both climb the tree to begin the meeting; when they make it to the top of the tree, Gene takes the opportunity to wiggle the branch. As a result, Finny falls, which ends Finny’s athleticism and changes his life. Gene’s guilt leads him to lie multiple times to cover his spiteful endeavor. His guiltiness causes him to confess to Phineas. Finny never accepts Gene’s reason for an apology; Phineas only agrees to the fact after Leper explains in detail what happens on that dreadful day. In a rage, Finny falls down the marble stairs, which causes another break and ends his life. In the novel, A Separate Peace, John Knowles illustrates the contrast between a friendship of jealousy and one of love through foreshadowing, metaphors, and symbolism.
Knowles illustrates the difference between a friendship of jealousy and one of love by foreshadowing the two falls and death of Finny. From the beginning of their friendship, Gene becomes jealous of Finny’s ability to convince people to get what he wants. Mr. Prud’homme catches Finny and Gene when they arrive to dinner late. Phineas’s charismatic personality keeps them out of trouble, which makes Gene envious. “There was no harm in envyin...

... middle of paper ...

... Leper to compare him to a savage beast. Although Finny admits to Gene that he considers him his best friend, Gene still shows envy. Knowles uses the tree as a symbol to express the jealousy and loss of innocence in Phineas’s and Gene’s friendship. In the beginning, Knowles uses the tree to symbolize the darkness of jealousy; Gene and Finny climb the tree, and Gene jounces the limb, which causes Phineas to fall. As Gene’s jealousy increases, the tree becomes a symbol of the loss of his innocence and lies multiple times; Finny loses innocence when he becomes aware of Gene’s sin. Although this novel takes place in the 1940s, jealousy and envy still exists today. Friends envy other friends for what they have: happiness, possessions, and other friendships. Although jealousy seems bad, a friendship without envy becomes a friendship without love and compassion.
Get Access