Knowle’s novel, A Separate Peace, has a self contained meaning and theme, not connected to any other works. Throughout the novel, Finny creates a metaphorical shadow that eclipses Gene. Gene feels that he must live in this shadow, and becomes extremely envious, and develops a resentful hatred. Finny continuously convinces Gene to leave his homework, and go swimming or adventuring. These distractions only add to Gene’s resentful hatred. He feels that he must now compete with Finny, academically not athletically. “You would have had an A in that one [class] except for him. Except for him… Finny had deliberately set out to wreck my studies… That way he, the great athlete, would be way ahead of me,” (John Knowles 53.) This enforces the author’s theme, that humans will create enemies for themselves. The author expresses the idea that even when no conflict has arisen, humans will create their own enemies, and will make war agains...
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...utcome, while taking action will end badly. Knowles reveals this, showing that Gene creates an enemy, who would never have hurt anyone, and ends up destroying him. This shows that human nature has not changed, and that it will not change, but people must fight this dangerous side of human nature, or witness self destruction, like Gene.
Knowles’ moving novel, A Separate Peace, reveals many alarming features of adolescence, and human nature. Knowles shows that humans will naturally develop an enemy, and will fight them. The main character Gene develops a resentful hatred, which leads to his friend Finny’s untimely death. A liberal humanistic critique reveals that the novel has a self contained meaning, expresses the enhancement of life, and shows that human nature is unchanging.
Knowles, John. A Separate Peace. New York: John Knowles, Inc.1959.
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