Friendship and Hatred in A Separate Peace

Friendship and Hatred in A Separate Peace

Length: 661 words (1.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

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?  To understand the relationship of Finny and Gene you must analyze their backgrounds. 

 The narrator of the novel, Gene Forrester, is a grown man who returns to the Devon School and recollects his years spent there.  During the duration of the novel Gene is around 16 years old, he is thoughtful, intelligent, with a tendency to brood.  Gene is extremely competitive with a sarcastic sense of humor.  He often shuns overt displays of emotion, much like most students at Devon.

 Gene’s “best friend” is Finny(Phineas).  Finny is perfect in almost every way.  He is honest, handsome, self confident, utterly disarming, extremely likable, as well as the best athlete in the entire school.  Finny lives for moments of pure, unrestrained friendship, and his strong sense of loyalty extends to any group of which he is a member.  He strives to be rebellious, making even the sternness proponents indulge in anarchical bliss with him.

 Now understanding the identity of Gene and Finny you can begin to analyze their friendship.  The two characters both have their own strong and week qualities.  Gene is smart and an average athlete, while Finny is an excellent athlete but a below average student.  In a situation such as this, one may begin to get jealous of the others gifts.  In the novel Gene realizes that Finny is extremely envious of his gifts and tries many different ways to ruin Gene.  For example Finny drags Gene to the coast, keeping him up all night, causing Gene to get a D on his trigonometry test the following morning.  With Finny’s increased studying, Gene interprets this as an attempt to even things out.  Finny harbors the same pettiness and duplicity as Gene does, and their friendship is shattered abruptly.  Not just this particular friendship, but the idea of friendship itself dissolves for Gene, and he feels he can trust no one.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Friendship and Hatred in A Separate Peace." 17 Jan 2020

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay on A Separate Peace by John Knowles: A Coming of Age Story

- Coming of age is a stage where a young person transitions from being a child and becomes an adult by facing a part of adulthood that destroys child-like beliefs while developing new beliefs. In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, Gene starts off as an innocent boy unsure of his feelings towards his friend Finny but as the book progresses Gene soon comes to realize he’s living under Finny’s shadow with a least amount of sense of knowing who he is as a person. This leads him to spite his best friend, Phineas....   [tags: friendship, envy, hatred]

Research Papers
1035 words (3 pages)

Friendship in "A Separate Peace" by John Knowles Essay

- Friendship is one of the most important relationships that people form in all of their lives. Children build bonds when they are young and use those skills to continue fulfilling friendships for the rest of their lives. Throughout A Separate Peace, John Knowles displays the good things about close friendships but also the hardships that often occur. Gene and Finny are two boys that attend Devon school. Which is a school that closely reflects the one that Knowles attended while he was growing up....   [tags: Separate Peace, John Knowles, Friendship, ]

Research Papers
652 words (1.9 pages)

Knowles' Separate Peace Essays: Loss of Innocence

- Loss of Innocence in A Separate Peace In the human nature, naive ignorance of the world's imperfections eventually yields to the recognition that the world does contain hatred and violence. John Knowles places his novel A Separate Peace in situations which necessitate this emotional transformation. The characters become increasingly aware of the nature of the world. In addition, symbols help show the interrelation of ideas and events as they appear in Gene's subconscious mind. In this novel, setting, character, and symbols develop the theme of loss of innocence....   [tags: Separate Peace Essays]

Research Papers
765 words (2.2 pages)

Factors Contributing to the Ups and Downs of Friendship in Knowles’ A Separate Peace

- ... His abhorrence invokes him to silently accuse Finny of things he does not do. Out of hatred, Gene starts to believe that Finny is invidious of his academic success, and strives to distract him from his studies. When Finny jokingly says he was extremely envious of Gene one day, Gene bursts and unknowingly concludes that “all of [Finny’s] assertions of friendship were fake and [he] was only jealous of my success” (Knowles 34). Finny’s meaningless comment sparks Gene’s anger, invoking him to accuse Finny of befriending him only to bring him down....   [tags: envy, guilt, accident]

Research Papers
1016 words (2.9 pages)

The Unofficial Autobiography: The Relationship of the Life of John Knowles and “A Separate Peace”

- Throughout time, famous authors have written even more famous books based on their own experiences. Nearly any book can be traced to an event in the author’s life. Whether they do it intentionally or not, these book are basically unofficial autobiographies. While they should not be taken as fact, a reader can come to understand the life of the author, and better understand their work. One famous author, C.S. Lewis, created a beautiful allegory in “The Chronicles of Narnia.” C.S. Lewis was a Christian and Aslan, the main character in the books, was a savior to the world....   [tags: literature, famous authors]

Research Papers
1098 words (3.1 pages)

"A Separate Peace" Analysis Essay

- Can one live in the illusion they create for themselves in an attempt to escape the realities of their life choices. In the book, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the main character inadvertently injures his best friend and does not confess to it. Gene is the main character and narrator. He narrates the story through a flashback while visiting the school he went to with his best friend. Gene is a very intelligent young man, however he has the tendency to over evaluate situations. His best friend Phineas, or Finny, is the opposite he acts on impulse and is a excellent athlete....   [tags: Literature Analysis]

Research Papers
1117 words (3.2 pages)

William Golding's Lord of the Flies and John Knowles' A Separate Peace Essay

- ... “He is fair and well built, might grow into a boxer but never into a devil, for he is sunny and decent, sensible, considerate.” (Golding) Both identities can now be distinctly seen as opposites that repel one another. On the contrary, Gene and Finny also parallel each other’s egos and motivations. “His combined good looks, fine sense of balance and tremendous energy create the sense of an academic.” (Slethaug 259-270) Finny, who is a multi-sport athlete, has an almighty body and is seen throughout encouraging himself/others to be creative....   [tags: duality of good verus evil]

Research Papers
674 words (1.9 pages)

Becoming A Man A Separate Peace And The Jumping Tree Essay

- Sometimes I think that the trouble with men is that we aren't women. One almost never sees women fight. No, that's a guy thing, a manly thing that also raises disturbing questions about what it means to be a man these days. Becoming a man comes with realizing your responsibilities in life. Becoming a man comes when you take control of your responsibilities in life for yourself and for others. If you live at home, and accept money, food, or anything else from your parents - you have no earthly idea what it takes or means to become a man....   [tags: Comparative Literature]

Free Essays
1857 words (5.3 pages)

Essay about Gene in A Seperate Peace

- At a young age everyone creates an enemy. Peace comes when this enemy leaves or has been destroyed. Everyone must fight, negotiate, and/or struggle with their enemy to be left with nothing but peace. Gene Forrester was the main character in the book A Separate Peace by John Knowles, which took place in the time of World War II. He made his enemy leave, through the death of his best friend Finny. As a result of fighting the wrong battle, Gene apologized to his friend Finny and found peace. After the highly athletic person Finny “Falls” from the tree, Gene begins to wonder who his friends are, and why his friends are his friends....   [tags: John Knowles]

Free Essays
699 words (2 pages)

Seperate Peace Summary Essay examples

- A Separate Peace Gene Forrester is a quiet, intellectual student at Devon School in New Hampshire. During the Summer Session of 1942, he becomes close friends with his daredevil roommate Finny, who has a talent for getting away with mischief through his sincere, disarming charisma. Finny prods Gene into making a dangerous jump out of a tree into a river, and the two start a secret society based on this ritual. Gene envies Finny's astonishing athletic abilities, and he begins to suspect that Finny envies his superior academic achievements and has been taking steps to distract him from his studies....   [tags: essays research papers]

Research Papers
837 words (2.4 pages)

Related Searches

 Gene feels Finny is becoming cunning and devious, making his true feelings.  Gene attends the Suicide Society meetings because he doesn’t want Finny to notice how he is feeling.  Gene thinks he must have been utterly wrong in his opinion of Finny and decides Finny is much better then him on the inside.  Gene climbs the tree completely stunned by his revelation and feels that nothing matters at all.  He jounces the limb while under his own shock and understanding of their relationship.  Not knowing what he has fallen into.

 When Gene comes to the realization as to what had happened, he is overwhelmed with guilt.  Gene wonders what Finny would do in his situation and decides he would confess everything.  Gene feels that time is suspended with the close of the Summer Session.  He feels detached and uninterested at home.  Gene thinks for a moment that Finny’s anger at his confession reveals something true about him and helps him know himself better, but Finny disagrees.  Finny refuses to believe Gene’s confession and his refusal makes Gene start to doubt his story himself.

 The theme pervades in this section of the plot, because Finny seems older and more mature when Gene comes to see him at home.  Finny also seems to have been changed from his former athletic self to an invalid.  The whole novel portrays a theme of transformation.  The transformation I explained here is the transformation from friends to enemies, returning to a newfound friendship.  And yet still the line of friendship to hatred remains unclear.
Return to