"A Separate Peace" Analysis

1166 words - 5 pages

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. This approach to situations Gene takes leads him to the conclusion that his best friend, Finny, is attempting to decimate his academic goals. This thought takes Gene down the path of jealousy and the idea of avenging himself. A day comes when Finny asks Gene to join him atop the tree the army uses for training. Finny wants to do a double jump with Gene. However when they are both upon the branch extending from the tree, Gene performs an action involuntarily, unintentionally, and for the first time without thinking about it. He jounces the limb causing Finny to fall. This accident takes away the ability that made Finny so spectacular. The accident ruins his leg and Finny will never again take part in sports again. The accident creates a turmoil of emotions inside Gene. He does not want Finny to know the truth, but the act of lying is robbing Gene of his conscious. Eventually the revelation of the truth drives Finny away from Gene. In his attempt to escape the cruelty of accepting his best friends hatred toward him he falls down the stairs and again brakes his leg. In the end Finny dies from trying to escape. As the doctor attempts to fix his broken leg, the procedure goes wrong and Finny ends up dead. The question remains then, should Gene have confessed to Finny, Although confessing to Gene would have deeply hurt Finny, Gene should have confessed because it would have cleared his conscious, it would have made Finny accept reality, and Finny would never have died.
Although unveiling the truth to Finny would have made Gene feel better, it would have only resulted in Finny becoming even more unhappy. To suddenly learn that the cause of your life being torn apart would have depressed him greatly. At one point Gene does attempt to confess to Finny. He tells him that he did it. However Finny instantly rejects this and instead suggests that Gene is behaving crazily, and demands that he leaves. This only further reinforces Gene's thoughts about not confessing. When Finny tells Gene he is acting crazily he is only yet again trying to reject the reality of the world that has harmed him. He does not want to believe his beloved friend would ever intentionally cause him bodily harm. He instead proposes his own reasoning for Gene's behavior on that specific day. This causes Gene to no longer wish to talk about the accident making it more unlikely the truth of that horrific day will...

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