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Falling From Grace: "A Separate Peace" By John Knowles

902 words - 4 pages

In A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, we as the reader are introduced to thenarrator, Gene Forrester, who takes us through flashbacks of his years at an exclusive NewHampshire prep school, Devon. The novel begins with the adult Gene returning to Devon.The sights of Devon, and in particular a large tree and a marble staircase, revive memoriesand deep emotions for Gene, which then introduces a number of characters, includingPhineas ("Finny"), who is Gene's roommate. Gene and Finny could not be more different inthe way that Gene has a quiet and intellectual personality where as Finny is carefree and hasan athletic demeanor. Gene is envious of Finny's ability to get away any sort ofmischievous act and his carefree nature. Finally the day came when Gene's jealousy finallytook hold of him and made him jostle the branch of the tree they were sitting in, makingFinny crash to the ground, breaking both legs, leaving him permanently paralyzed. At thatmoment, Gene becomes aware of his inner-self and learns of his true feelings. Neither ofthem knew how much Gene's lapse of judgment would change their their lives forever.Life before the fall consisted of daily routines, mischief, and the "Super SuicideSociety of the Summer Session". "I knew they would be wondering where we were but wewent on ahead up to the room to study," (page 17) the daily routine of eating dinner in thedinning room was skipped when Finny and Gene decided to study up in their room. Gene isfollows all the rules but only when finny is around does he ever decided to act against hisrule abiding ways. Gene has a more submissive personality to Finny's almost overbearingcharacter. Finny decides he wants to go for a swim in the river and drags Gene with him,once again missing dinner which is strictly against the rules. Gene knows that they have ahigh probability of getting caught and warns Finny but Finny couldn't care. The "SuperSuicide Society of the Summer Session" is an " underground brotherhood" created by Finnyto help pass the dull summer school sessions. "The Charter Members, he and I, had to openevery meeting by jumping ourselfs," (page 34) everything the club revolved around was "thetree" which was for military training purposes only but anything that tested the rules were alright by Finny.After Finny's fall, Gene becomes aware that he is the extremely jealous of Finny.Over a long period of time Gene had been denying his feelings of hatred towards Finny,saying that it was normal for him to feel this way. Now all of the feelings come back to himand he sees how terrible he really is. The realization of these feelings cause Gene...

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