A Separate Peace: Self-Knowledge and Inner-Peace
The theme suggested in the closing paragraph of the novel A Separate Peace is that people create their own enemy and then they defend themselves laboriously and obsessively against their imaginary enemy. They develop a particular frame of mind to allay the fear that arises while facing their nonexistent enemy. In the novel, the protagonist, Gene, tries to fight a war with his best friend, Finny, not realizing that the enemy he sees is not Finny but is his own insecurity.
At the beginning Gene believes that Finny is actually his enemy who is trying to sabotage him. Gene thinks that Finny envies his academic ability just as he envies Finny's extraordinary athletic ability. To feel better about himself, Gene lowers Finny to his level so that they are "even, even in enmity.” Gene's attitude toward Finny is a manifestation of his jealousy and lack of self-confidence.
Finny, on the other hand is extremely confident. He never had the evil thoughts about destroying Gene's grades - he is too innocent of a person to have such thought. Furthermore, Finny, being a carefree person, does not even care about his own grades, and certainly not Gene's grades. Gene does not realize the truth, or perhaps he simply does not want to admit the truth. He has created an enemy to protect himself from acknowledging that he is not completely satisfied with his character, or lack of thereof.
Gene finally realizes that Finny is not tryin...
... middle of paper ...
...defenses that people have constructed are as useless as the "Maginot Lines"; they only prevent people from analyzing their emotions and characters. People should view the enemy and the war in a more objective perspective, and try to understand themselves. Only by doing so can they eventually find their identity.
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- A Separate Peace: Self-Knowledge and Inner-Peace The theme suggested in the closing paragraph of the novel A Separate Peace is that people create their own enemy and then they defend themselves laboriously and obsessively against their imaginary enemy. They develop a particular frame of mind to allay the fear that arises while facing their nonexistent enemy. In the novel, the protagonist, Gene, tries to fight a war with his best friend, Finny, not realizing that the enemy he sees is not Finny but is his own insecurity.... [tags: Separate Peace Essays]
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