Free Essays - A Separate Peace

Free Essays - A Separate Peace

Length: 1310 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

In Knowles’ novel, A Separate Peace, Gene is portrayed as an intelligent student who is motivated by academics.  He is also a thinker that considers a situation from all sides before making a decision. Gene is also a person who follows all the rules and regulations. He always obeys his teachers, studies hard, never misses a class, and makes excellent grades. He does not really enjoy sports, for he is not a good athlete. While in school he lets many distractions such as his friend Finny take part in his life.  This leads to his internal wars. Finny is Gene’s roommate and best friend, who has a completely opposite personality from Gene. He always acts on blind impulse, never thinking about the rules or the consequences. He is also a poor student, for he does not devote himself to his studies. He would rather be playing sports, since he is the best athlete on campus. He lets sports motivate him and wants to participate in the 1944 Olympics.
 During their days at Devon, Gene is motivated by Finny’s perfect grace and coordination.  Gene begins to adore and worship Finny as a super hero. He feels his roommate can handle any situation and charm the teachers and classmates. As a result, Gene tries to imitate him and also lets himself be controlled by him.  Gradually, Gene grows jealous of his friend. He begins to hope that Finny will get caught and punished for one of his many wild stunts. For instance, when Pinny wore an outrageous pink shirt, he escaped punishment by giving a satisfying reason saying that it was his emblem.  Gene  wants Finny to be forced down to his level so that he can compete with him and not just lose to him.Gene tries to please Finny. Although he knows that by doing so, he is acting against every instinct of his behavior. In order to keep up with Finny, he jumps from the tree into the river, a daring feat, even though he is scared to death. He also allows Finny to take him away from his studies, which are very important to Gene. When Finny saves Gene’s life by preventing him from falling from the tree, Gene knows that he should be grateful, instead he accuses him by saying he would not have been up in the tree if weren’t for Finny. He concludes that he

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Free Essays - A Separate Peace." 23 Feb 2020

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Free College Essays - A Separate Peace

- A Separate Peace "Holding firmly to the trunk, I took a step toward him, and then my knees bent and I jounced the limb." This is a quotation from the novel A Separate Peace, written by John Knowles. My focus in the following will be on Man's Inhumanity to Man. There is a strong relation of this to the novel for which I read. My first point which I will talk about is about Finny's tragic fall and how Gene was the cause of it. My support from the story is Finny's desire to jump from the tree....   [tags: A Separate Peace Essays]

Free Essays
1065 words (3 pages)

Free Essays - Gene and Finny of A Separate Peace

- A Separate Peace Gene and Finny In A Separate Peace, the main characters are foils of one another. The plot is pushed along by the changing dynamics of their friendship. Their relationship begins to drift apart when their personalities clash. The changing dynamics of Gene and Finny's relationship and the revelations in Gene's personality are what move the plot along. At first, Gene fights against his memories. The story is opened with Gene returning to his old school, Devon. A struggle, or some sort of conflict, is clear by the way he practically forces himself to return to the staircase and the tree....   [tags: Separate Peace Essays]

Free Essays
525 words (1.5 pages)

Free College Essays - Envy in A Separate Peace

- Envy in A Separate Peace                     “People are often vain of their most criminal passions; but envy is one passion so mean and low that nobody will admit it” Francois de la Rochefoucauld(1613-1680), a French philosopher, once stated and that statement summarizes the undertone of A Separate Piece by John Knowles.  The story is set at a highly competitive boy’s school on the East Coast that sets the perfect stage to develop the storyline.  Gene’s insecurity, which led to jealousy of Finny, is the cause of the overall conflict....   [tags: A Separate Peace Essays]

Free Essays
391 words (1.1 pages)

Free College Essays - Influence of War in Knowles' Separate Peace

- Influence of War as Shown in A Separate Peace Historical events can play an important role in a person’s life. In A Separate Peace, the whole atmosphere at the Devon School changed as World War II progressed. The boys either eagerly awaited draft, enlisted in the area of war they wanted, or did not want to go at all. The students at the school created new activities for enjoyment since the customary past times could not be played due to a lack of materials....   [tags: Separate Peace Essays]

Free Essays
682 words (1.9 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)

Free College Essays - Devon as a Microcosm in Knowles' A Separate Peace

- Devon as a Microcosm to the Outside World in A Separate Peace Welcome to a small school called Devon during the summer of 1942. At the beginning of the second World War, Devon is a quiet place with close friends and great memories, until one event brings the entire school into itÕs own war. With the star athlete having his leg ÒaccidentallyÓ broken by his best friend, Devon turns against itself into a war zone where nobody is safe. It all began with a childish game of jumping out of a tree into a river, a test of guts and will....   [tags: A Separate Peace Essays]

Research Papers
504 words (1.4 pages)

A Separate Peace Essay

- Gene Forrester's difficult journey toward maturity and the adult world is one of the main focuses in the novel, A Separate Peace, by John Knowles. Gene’s journey into maturity begins the moment he jounces the limb of the tree. The process continues until he visits the tree, fifteen years later. Gene looks at things in the past. Gene must start to become self-aware, face reality and the future, confront his problems, as well as forgive and accept himself. He must become aware of and understand the person he is, and face the problems in his life....   [tags: Free Essay Writer]

Free Essays
1220 words (3.5 pages)

A Separate Peace Essay

- What point of view does each character show in regards to their attitude to the war. The war is a symbol of how things are not always what they seem. Recruiting posters and propaganda to join the army convinced many boys into thinking the war is an exciting adventure. “The characters Gene, Finny, and Leper are used as opposing forces struggle between that cold reality of war and a separate peace”(Brian, Gatten), A peace away from the real war and all the terrible things that come. The attitudes towards war of Finny, Gene and Leper reflect their approach to life....   [tags: Free Essay Writer]

Free Essays
736 words (2.1 pages)

A Separate Peace Essay

- A Separate Peace Obstacles after obstacles came in the path to success. In the novel A Separate Peace, John Knowles revealed a very strong idea through one of his characters. Through Gene it was revealed that weak individual who once was weak morally and mentally can become a strong and a more matured person. John Knowles revealed this idea through Gene’s perspective; symbolism; and also Gene’s speech/action. Gene had proved many things through only his perspective. He had intriguing thoughts, which gave many idea’s about Gene post personality and his surroundings....   [tags: Free Essay Writer]

Free Essays
925 words (2.6 pages)

A Separate Peace Essay

- Through out the book A Separate Peace, Gene, his growth and harmony seem to change. His opinions, and outlook on life also seem to change as his relationship with Phineas does likewise. Gene’s self-perception changes from insecurity to imitation to independence as his relationship with Phineas changes. As the book begins, Gene is unsettled by Phineas and somewhat mystified by him. Like a legend from a western tale. As the book moves on and Finny starts to change Gene’s life, Gene appears to become very insecure and afraid of what will happen next....   [tags: Free Essay Writer]

Free Essays
436 words (1.2 pages)

Related Searches

should not feel any gratitude towards his roommate.
           Since everything seems to come so easily and naturally to Finny, especially his athletic abilities, Gene grows insanely jealous of him. The jealousy is carefully hidden inside until he can stand it no more. He causes Finny to fall out of the tree, crippling him for life. By hurting him, Gene could bring him down to his level.  After the accident, Gene even sees himself as Finny. He dresses in his roommate's clothes and says, "I was Phineas, Phineas to the life." He also becomes the crippled Finny, refusing to participate in sports, since Finny cannot do it.
          After the accident, Gene is riddled with guilt and shame. During summer vacation, he decides he must confess that he has caused the accident to Finny. He goes to his home, where he is recovering, and tries to tell Finny that he has bounced him out of the tree. Finny refuses to believe the story, for he trusts Gene as his best friend in life. When Finny returns to Devon, he tells Gene that he is going prepare him for the next Olympics. The agreement is that Finny will coach Gene in sports, and Gene will coach Finny in his studies.
          During the winter, Gene participates in a winter carnival that Finny has organized. He easily wins all of the sporting events, proving  that Finny's efforts have paid off. But Gene is still not at peace with himself.  The war that is raging in Europe, and his internal war, driven by guilt and shame. When the friendship between Pinny and Gene strengthens, Gene gets motivated by Leper’s  telegram to join the Navy.  Gene lets go of Pinny and goes off to find Leper. Gene sees that Leper has gone crazy from the internal conflict. When Leper describes himself as a "psycho," Gene is has a fear because he is afraid that this will also happen to him. When Leper suggests that Gene has caused Finny to fall from the tree, Gene's fear turn into actions. He reacts violently, kicking the chair from underneath causing Leper to fall. Gene obviously feels threatened that somebody else knows the truth about what he has done
to Finny.
           Returning from Leper's house, Gene joins in a student snowball fight organized by Finny. As they playfully wage a war, far removed from the real world war that haunts them, Gene tries to kid himself into believing that he is at peace with himself. He genuinely believes that there is no longer a conflict between him and Finny because Finny has been brought down to his level. Additionally, Finny has confessed his absolute faith and trust in Gene.
            Brinker, one of the students, senses that Gene is living a lie. Suspecting that he is responsible for Finny's accident, he then organizes a student trial in the First Building. Finny and Gene are both brought in for questioning. Finny, still unable to face the truth of what has really happened in the accident, tells Brinkerthat he lost his balance and fell out of the tree. Gene, afraid to tell the truth in front of his peers, says he has been on the ground during the accident. Leper, however, is called in to testify. He states that on the night of the accident he saw two figures in the tree, one out on a limb and one near the trunk. When the lowermoved, the figure on the branch fell. Forced to face the truth, Finny is shocked and crushed. With tears flowing from his eyes, he runs from the room trips on the steps. Gene is so ashamed at what he has done and what he has caused that he cannot even help to carry Finny to the infirmary.
           When Gene is finally courageous enough to enter Finny's room, his friend turns on him. With anger, Finny asks if Gene has come to break another part of his body. Gene reminds him that he had tried to tell Finny the truth about the accident, but was always silenced. Realizing that his presence causes pain so Gene leaves.The next morning he returns with Finny's clothes and toiletries, as the doctor has requested. Finny has regained his composure and tells his friend about the hurt he feels about not being able to help in the war effort. Gene tries to cheer him by making a joke. When Gene leaves feels better about the relationship he has with Finny.
              The doctor tells Gene that he can return at five o'clock in the evening to see his friend after his leg has been set. When Gene comes to the infirmary after his classes, he learns that Finny has passed away. Gene is too shocked to even shed tears. He feels indirectly responsible for causing Finny's death.  He also  feels like a part of himself has died with the death of his friend.
              Gene joins the Navy and fights in the war, but his heart is not in it. He cannot even think about killing a person, even the enemy. He has fought one war, his own personal battle and that war ended with a horrible death. Gene proves that he has great difficulty getting over the loss of Finny. Even after fifteen  years, he has come back to Devon to come visit the two frightening places the First Building and the tree that hangs over the river.


Return to