Knowles' Separate Peace Essays: Self-Knowledge and Inner-Peace

Knowles' Separate Peace Essays: Self-Knowledge and Inner-Peace

Length: 761 words (2.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview



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.                                                          

                                   

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Knowles' Separate Peace Essays: Self-Knowledge and Inner-Peace

- 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]

Better Essays
761 words (2.2 pages)

Knowles' Separate Peace Essays: Maturity in A Separate Peace

- Maturity in A Separate Peace In A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, the focus spotlight is quickly turned upon Gene Forrester and his maturity through the novel. He expresses his ideas about the many subjects through the book through his position as the novel's narrator. Also, as the book progresses, so does Gene's maturity. The first chapter of A Separate Peace establishes the character Gene Forrester, who in actuality is a portrayal of John Knowles himself, according to a recent interview....   [tags: A Separate Peace Essays]

Better Essays
804 words (2.3 pages)

Separate Peace Essay: Self-Examination in A Separate Peace

- Self-Examination A Separate Peace opens as Gene Forrester returns to Devon School, a New England prep school, about fifteen years after he was in attendance there. World War II had just begun then and he remembers the Summer Suicide Society--an organization founded by his best friend, Finny, which devotes itself to initiating members by having them jump from the tree into the river. Gene and Finny always had to take the first jump from the tree. As time goes on, Gene begins to resent Finny because of his athletic talents and on one occasion, he jounces the limb so that Finny will fall....   [tags: Separate Peace Essays]

Free Essays
931 words (2.7 pages)

Free College Essays - Ideal Distraction in Knowles' A Separate Peace

- A Separate Peace   Ideal Distraction A Separate Peace        “It wasn’t the cider which made me surpass myself, it was this liberation we had torn from the gray encroachments of 1943, the escape we had concocted, this afternoon of momentary, illusory, special and a separate peace,” (128) reflects Gene Forrester after his carefree outing at the winter carnival. John Knowles in a Separate Peace uses an unusual plot to give the reader an illusionary sense of peace and security, found only at Devon, during a time of great war, through isolating specific idealistic moments from the sin and evil that encompasses them....   [tags: A Separate Peace Essays]

Free Essays
556 words (1.6 pages)

Friendship and Hatred in A Separate Peace Essay

- Friendship and Hatred in A Seperate Peace The line between friendship and hatred can sometimes be very unclear. Where exactly does one cross over this line. Could it possibly be when one discovers envy within himself for his friend, or is it when he begins to wish he is somewhere other then where he is. In the novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the friendship line between Finny and Gene is extremely unclear. What would cause ones best friend to jounce a tree limb in hopes the other would be harmed....   [tags: Separate Peace Essays]

Free Essays
661 words (1.9 pages)

Gene's Coming of Age in A Separate Peace Essay

- Gene's Coming of Age in A Separate Peace       The novel, A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, is the coming of age story of Gene Forrester. This novel is a flashback to the year 1943, when Gene is attending Devon School during his senior year and the summer before it. "Gene's youth and inexperience make him ill-equipped to deal with situations that require maturity" (Overview: A Separate Peace 2). However, Gene is a follower of Finny and therefore gains experiences that provoke his development into adulthood....   [tags: Separate Peace Essays]

Better Essays
751 words (2.1 pages)

A Separate Peace: Nature of Man Essay

- A Separate Peace: Nature of Man The greatest battles of humanity are often not merely a clash of arms, but a quiet, vast conflict in the human heart. Similarly, actions in the world are thoughts made into reality, and feelings turned into motion. It is terrible to realize that war in all its evils is often a pure expression of something sinister within. A Separate Peace by John Knowles intimately explores the depths within humanity to uncover the essence of human nature. The novel is focuses on the solitary and intelligent narrator Gene Forester and his best friend, the athletic Phineas, or Finny....   [tags: Literature]

Better Essays
1624 words (4.6 pages)

A Separate Peace: Friends or Foe? Essay

- ... Gene describes Phineas to us “balancing on one foot on the prow of a canoe like a river god, his raised arms invoking the air to support him, face transfigured, body a complex set of balances and compensations, each muscle aligned in perfection” (Knowles 75). Phineas is the natural athlete destined for greatness (Eckhardt 1). On the reverse side of things, Gene is the intellectual (Eckhardt 1) while Phineas “was a very poor student” (Knowles 55). In the way Phineas is a natural at sports, Gene is naturally a good student....   [tags: John Knowles, story analysis, Gene & Eneas]

Better Essays
1114 words (3.2 pages)

A Separate Peace, The Natural, The Scarlet Letter, and The Old Man and the Sea

- A Separate Peace, The Natural, The Scarlet Letter, and The Old Man and the Sea In the society-centered world that has existed for thousands of years, Emerson's and Thoreau's recommendation of living as a self-reliant individual can be a difficult task to accomplish. Society puts pressure on its members to conform to its standards. Nonconformists are shunned by society and as a result have difficulty retaining their nonconformist position. According to Emerson's Self-Reliance, though, this nonconformist, independent stance is the only thing that can bring a person peace....   [tags: Separate Peace Essays]

Free Essays
2380 words (6.8 pages)

John Knowles' A Separate Peace Essay

- Death of Obligation In the story of A Separate Peace, the struggle and problems of a character are represented through the lives of two students at Devon School. Gene who is the dynamic character in the story is held back from achieving his goals and living the life he wants to live by Finny. Gene in a sense, devoted to Finny and can easily be convinced to do anything Finny presents to him. Gene’s thoughts become blurred and he begins to believe anything that Finny says no matter how ridiculous it might seem....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
664 words (1.9 pages)