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Friendship As A Theme In John Knowles "A Separate Peace"

1432 words - 6 pages

"A Separate Peace" by John Knowles is about two boys who grow and learn from each other. Gene and Phineas are two completely different people, whose dissimilar personalities compliment each other. One is a conformist, who follows, and the other is a natural leader, who isn’t afraid to stand out and voice his opinions. There difference fuel their conflicts, which they struggle and triumph over. Their friendship’s integrity and earnestness is tested. From their experiences it is evident that Gene and Finny, although opposite in personalities, want and need each others friendship to grow as separate individuals.Works Cited:http://www.bellmore-merrick.k12.ny.us/peace.htmlConflicts arise, and Gene and Finny struggle and prevail together. One of the many conflicts they face is an internal one, Gene’s state of mind, and his continual envy of Phineas. Gene is jealous of Finny's natural athletic ability, but believes he compensates for this lack of ability by excelling in academics. “He had never been jealous of me for a second. Now I knew that there never was and never could have been any rivalry between us I was not of the same quality as he” (Knowles 51). “I lost part of myself to him then, and a soaring sense of freedom revealed that this must have been my purpose from the first: to become a part of Phineas.” (77) Gene leads himself to believe that Finny is attempting to sabotage his academic success with nights at the beach, and the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session. Genes always wants to see Finny fail, at his weakest. It is only when Finny is at his weakest, that Gene can finally feel superior. Gene jounced the limb to see Finny fail at his own game, Gene was frustrated when he couldn’t win Finny’s other games like blitz ball. He wanted Finny to fall “You see! Kill me! Now you know what it is! I did it because I felt like that! Now you know yourself!”(62). Finny falling out of the tree changed a lot of things, Gene became more of a leader now that Finny was weaker. Gene had an internal conflict, his guilt took over and eventually lead to Finny breaking his leg twice. Another issue involves Finny's denial of the events surrounding his accident. He refuses to believe that Gene caused him to fall from the tree. The different views on war posses a problem to these boys, they each had there own individual view on war, Gene believed it to be real and something that he must enlist in, and Finny didn’t believe in it, he thought it was propaganda and a cover up by the adults for the children to be obedient. They triumphed over the second time Phineas fell. When he learned that Gene intentionally wanted to hurt him, he ran out and fell down the marble staircase. After he recovers for the second time, he forgives Gene and they understand each other, and Finny must learn to accept this fact after denying it for so long. All these conflicts lead the boys to grow and learn from one another,...

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