The fall of man- it's a common topic all throughout the Bible. Many allusions to this familiar Biblical theme are made in the war-time novel, A Separate Peace, by American author John Knowles. In this work, Knowles relates many of his experiences as a teenage boy attending boarding school during World War Two. He uses Biblical allusions to reveal much about human nature.
In Genesis 4:3-5 the Bible says, "In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Able brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry and his face was downcast."
Much like Cain's jealousy toward his brother Abel in Genesis, the protagonist Gene is often placing himself in competition with his best friend and worst enemy, Phineas. Phineas, affectionately known as Finny is much like Able. He is innocent and pure in his views on life and others. Knowles says he ",Did abide by certain rules which he seemed to cast in the form of Commandments. (Pg 26)"
Able was honest and wise by choosing to follow God's orders. Thus, God was pleased with Able's offering. Cain, on the other hand was quite the opposite. He is presented as being rather depraved and corrupted. In this way, Gene is similar to Cain. In the book Gene realizes the grip that sin has on his soul and claims, "It was just some ignorance inside me, some crazy thing inside me, something blind, that's all it was. (Pg 183) "
Unfortunately, Gene, like Cain, becomes consumed with jealousy of Phineas, due to the realization that he can never be as good as Finny morally or athletically. The reader sees this when Gene states that, "there never was and never could have been any rivalry between us. I was not of the same quality as he."
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"Biblical Allusion." StudyMode.com. 10, 1999. Accessed 10, 1999. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Biblical-Allusion-16106.html.