The Hostility Between Gene and Finny in A Separate Peace by John Knowles

The Hostility Between Gene and Finny in A Separate Peace by John Knowles

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The Hostility Between Gene and Finny in A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Gene feels increasing hostility toward Finny before his fall from the
tree. In the novel A SEPARATE PEACE by John Knowles, the hostility
between Gene and Finny increase because of the competition inside of them
both to be better then one another. It is about the increasing competition
between Gene and Finny and the hostility it brings. The hostility finally burst
inside Gene and for one instant it takes over. It makes him do something he
will always regret. Gene’s increasing hostility towards Finny finally brings
the down fall of their friendship.
Gene’s first form of hostility toward Finny was the realization that
Finny could get away with anything. First instance was when Finny was
wearing his emblem, the pink button-down shirt, and Mr. Patch-Withers
came up to him. Mr. Patch-Withers ask him about the shirt and Finny told
him the meaning of the shirt. As he explained the substitute headmaster
became more amused about the situation and allowed Finny to get away
with breaking the school dress code. After this instance Gene admitted to
being envious of Finny in this Quote, “I was beginning to see that Phineas
could get away with anything. I couldn’t help envying him that a little,
which is perfectly normal. There was no harm in envying your best friend
a little.” (18) In this quote Gene is just saying that he envies his best
friend for some thing that he can’t do. This situation is the first of many
forms of hostility towards Finny that brings about the incident in the tree.
At the Patch-Withers party anther sign of Gene’s increasing envy towards
Finny is shown. This happens when Finny again gets away with breaking
the dress code. At the party when discussing the bombing of Europe, Mr.
Patch-Withers discovers that Finny is wearing the school tie with his pink
shirt. With some quick anecdotes about how his shirt is a contribution to
the war effort and also be glad he wore a belt because his pants could fall
down. With these quick anecdotes Finny got away with it, gave Mr.
Patch-Withers a good laugh and enraged Gene’s envy towards Finny.
Gene gave this quote about the instance, “He (Finny) had gotten away
with everything. I felt a sudden stab of disappointment........” (21) Gene
really does not know what he is feeling he says, but deep down it is hi...

... middle of paper ...

...out to
wreck my studies. That explained blitzball, that explained the nightly
meetings of the Super Suicide Society.............Sure he wanted to share
everything with me , especially his D’s in every subject. That way he, the
great athlete, would be way ahead of me. It was all cold trickery, it was all
calculated, it was all enmity.” (45) Gene thinks he was doing this by
cramming his schedule with clubs and sports so that he won’t have time to
study and wreck his school grades. Then Finny can be better than him at
everything. Gene’s misunderstanding of Finny, not understanding that Gene
did need to study and that it did not come naturally, enraged Gene more
making him ready to explode. “I (Finny) didn’t know you needed to study.”
(50) When Finny said this Gene took it way out of proportion making it
Gene’s final straw. Gene was so enraged that he could not take it that Finny
only meant that brains came natural. With the final straw gone Gene lost it.
His mind was in such confusion that he followed Finny out to the tree. He
climbed up it, and with out any regard for human life, Gene exploded. He
shook the limb making Finny lose his balance and fall to the ground.

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