Critical Analytical Essay on a Seperate Peace

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The Effect Circumstance Has On An Individual.

An individual in a difficult situation may act in an impulsive way that allows them to feel more in control of their circumstances. These unpremeditated decisions are often made when the individual does not consider the possible consequences of their actions. This means that they generally regret what they have done, but by then it is often too late to make amends. An individual’s circumstance can directly affect their ability to make good decisions. This is perceptively shown in the novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles; as the main character Gene Forrester makes an instinctive decision that ends up costing him his best friend’s life.

From the beginning, it was presented as a perfect friendship. Gene was a diligent student with a competitive streak, whereas Phineas was a natural athlete with a real love for life. Phineas was very spontaneous by nature, and his spontaneity led to some pretty creative ideas. It was because of this that Gene found himself standing on the branch of a big tree alongside the river one lazy summer day. To the amazement of the other boys he jumped, if only to gain the admiration and trust of Finny. Thus, the establishment of the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session was official; a fabrication of Finny’s with the objective of bringing him and Gene closer together, as they were the only Charter Members of the society. However, it would soon become evident that it might be what would eventually tear them apart.

At this point in the novel, Gene’s portrayal of his friendship with Finny begins to reveal his true feelings: those of jealousy and resentment. In his mind, Gene had equalized the situation by assuming that Phineas must be envious of his scholastic achievements in return, only for Finny to show a real desire to see Gene succeed. This made Gene resent Finny not only for his athletic ability, but also for his apparent inability to resent others. This...
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