Friendship: Change and Gene

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Use of Seasons to Symbolize Change in Gene and Finny
Change is a part of life, as we all grow and become different. Sometimes change can be difficult, and other times we embrace to change or reject it. Changes such as aging and season changing can be natural, but we also cause others changes like wars and personal relationships. In A Separate Peace, John Knowles describes a change in the world in 1942 and how it affects the relationship of two high school boys. Knowles uses summer and winter to symbolize the change in the relationship between Gene and Finny by effectively utilizing the two different periods of time to emphasize how, in our lives, changes are inevitable and shocking.

Knowles uses summer to represent the vigorous and cheerful Gene and Finny at the first part of the novel. Like summer which is viewed as s active and carefree season, these two friends are at first light-hearted and full of energy as Knowles writes early in the novel. They also engage in rough physical activities together such as blitzball and jumping off the tree, which are also associated with outdoor life during summer. However, the easygoing friendship ends when Gene undergoes a change within himself. His respect and awe for Finny turn into a feeling of envy as Knowles writes, “I was beginning to see that Phineas could get away with anything. I couldn’t help envying him that a little, which was perfectly normal. There was no harm in envying even your best friend a little” (25). Then Gene develops a powerful rivalry between him and Finny. This marks the end of the most vicious summer heat when the heat of friendship gradually lowers itself. When Gene realizes Finny’s friendship is genuine, he is struggling between an old friendship and a new rivalry, “I should have told him then that he was my best friend also…But something held me back. Perhaps I was stopped by that level of feeling, deeper than thought, which contains the truth” (48). However, Gene resists to change his...
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