Separate Peace

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Moira Callahan
9H English
Mrs. Bascom

In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, there are many reasons many characters use denial to ignore their problems. Knowles uses Gene and Finny as characters that ignore the truth so they do not have to face reality. Gene hides that he is jealous and angry of Finny, Finny hides the fact that Gene purposefully tried to hurt him and the fact that there is a war going on.

In a Separate Peace, Gene has many examples of when he used denial to cope with his bad situation. For example, when Finny falls out of the tree Gene realizes that he’s jealous of Finny. He despises that Finny is athletic and gets away with everything. So when he shakes the branch, he purposely means to hurt Finny. Gene later denies it to himself and we see at the beginning of the novel that he cannot even years later admit that he has somewhat of a Gene in the beginning of the chapter decides put on Finny’s clothes so he can escape his conscious by pretending to be Finny. “I decide to put on his clothes…I never forgot that evening I put on his cordovan shoes, his pants, and what I for and finally found his pink shirt, neatly laundered in a drawer…I was Phineas, Phineas to the life.” (Knowles 62) But by doing this he does not deal with his problems. Gene further denies that the accident was his fault by telling Mr. Ludsbury that he has no roommate when asked. Gene is mistaken about using this coping strategy and we might see later about the consequences of using this strategy because ignoring a problem does not fix it.

Finny in many cases, has created a fantasy world for him to live in. He has denied that Gene hurt him because it is clear that he loves Gene and treasures his friendship. When Gene comforts him and admits that he shook the limb so Finny would fall off, he immediately gets angry “I’m going to hit you if you don’t sit down.” (Knowles 70) When skipping classes Finny once says "When you really love something, then it loves you back, in...
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