A Separate Piece By John Knowles

1409 words - 6 pages

This story takes place where the narrator, Gene, returns to the Devon School in New Hampshire, where he was a student with his rebellious friend Finny almost 15 years ago, just as World War II was breaking out. This story takes an in depth look at the mind and relationship of two young boys and their growing respect for each other. Gene and Finny were roommates together when they became the best of friends yet they are two totally different people. Gene is someone who likes to obey the rules and focus mainly on his academics but what most do not know about Gene is that he is a very jealous, black hearted, troubled young man. He is emotionally insecure with himself and therefore has trouble lending out his trust to others, even the ones who are willing to repay this trust. Throughout this book he thinks he has his friend figured out when he realizes he is all wrong and has to live with what he has done. Finny on the other hand is every parents dream for a child. Gene's best friend and roommate, a remarkable athlete with a disregard for the rules and an innate ability to win people over. He gets Gene in quite a bit of trouble with his impulsive nature and natural disobedience, but he is very good at heart, and thinks the world of his best friend. After his accident, he is unable to play sports, which crushes him but, he decides that Gene shall take over his old place, and become the wonderful athlete that he was before he shattered his leg. My book has excellent character development and use of foreshadowing, which ties in very well with the plot. Finny has the ability to bring out the worst in Gene causing him to go against his better judgment and sometimes leading them in to trouble. Finny proposes that they go to the beach, which is far away and means they will be in big trouble if they are caught; Gene, against his better judgment, says he will. They sleep on the beach that night, and Finny admits that he considers Gene his best friend, which touches Gene deeply; but something keeps Gene from admitting the same thing. Gene's reluctance to answer Finny's comments that Gene is his best friend foreshadows some kind of conflict within Gene; up until this point, Gene has had nothing but praise for Finny, but the fact that he cannot acknowledge his best friend openly indicates something wrong beneath the surface. Gene says that he was "stopped by that level of feeling, deeper than thought, which contains the truth"(pg40); Gene finally acknowledges his second thoughts openly, which foreshadows Gene's coming crisis about his true feelings for Finny.They wake up the next morning on the beach and Gene realizes he has a math exam in 3 hours and it takes 3 hours to get to Devon from the beach. Gene, an academic perfectionist, laments his poor performance on the test to Finny; Finny mocks Gene's ambition to be first in their class, and Gene begins to believe that Finny doesn't want him to do well in school, so that he will come out ahead. Finny excels in...

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