Character Analysis: Gene Forrester

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Gene Forrester is the narrator in the novel "A Separate Peace." He began by looking back to his high school years, contemplating all the memories, the good and bad, he shared with his classmates and friends, especially his best friend, Finny. Gene shows many different sides in his personality through the dramatic situations he goes through. He shows through as a loyal, intelligent young man, struggling through adolescence, and then turns to a jealous, unconventional teenager, not knowing what his true feelings are, but for the current moment. His complex inferiorities make his relationship with Finny much more difficult, resulting in a quick yet painful lesson in growing up.

"I found it. I found a single sustaining thought. The thought was, you and Phineas are even already. You are even in enmity. You are both coldly driving ahead for yourselves alone. . . . I felt better. Yes, I sensed it like the sweat of relief when nausea passes away; I felt better. We were even after all, even in enmity. The deadly rivalry was on both sides after all." (chapter 4) Gene begins realizing his resentment towards Finny, perhaps as a security blanket, by stating that Finny is just as jealous of him as he is to Finny. It seems he felt a certain bit of pride in his own that Finny is jealous of his achievements, and that his feelings for Finny are simply common adolescent rivalry to excel. It enables him to avoid feeling shame about his resentment toward Finny and drives him to excel academically in order to spite his friend. Gene shows a mixture of his personality in this quote, showing his envy, while saying they are both even.

It's later on in the story that Gene realizes that Finny was never jealous of him. This is revealed in this quote: "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." (Chapter 4) It seems this deeply troubles Gene, for he reacts in a...
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