Dealing with enemies has been a problem since the beginning of time. “I never killed anybody,” Gene had commented later in his life, “And I never developed an intense level of hatred for the enemy. Because my war ended before I ever put on a uniform, I was on active duty all my time at Devon; I killed my enemy there.” In A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, the value of dealing with enemies is shown by Gene, who was dealing with few human enemies, but his emotions created far greater rivals than any human could ever posses.
One of the enemies that Gene created for himself was jealousy. Gene was jealous of everything about Finny. The openness which Finny possessed was one of these things which Gene envied. One incident of Finny’s openness was when he wore the pink shirt. By wearing this he was “symbolizing the first U.S. bombing in Europe.” Gene simply replied to the shirt by calling Finny “nuts,” but deep down inside Gene was jealous of Finny’s boldness. Another incident of Finny’s openness, or boldness is when he wore the school tie as a belt. Gene was anxiously waiting for Finny to get yelled at, but because of his openness he was able to talk his way out of getting into trouble. Finny claimed that he wore the tie as a belt because it represented “Devon in the War.” Again, Gene was envious of Finny’s openness to make up a story and “get away with everything.”
Another one of Gene’s enemies is his anger. Alone, his anger is mild, but when mixed with his jealousy, prove to be a deadly combination. Gene was angry at such things as Finny’s ability go get out of trouble, and his own unwillingness to say “no” to Finny. The real war, however, started when he got the idea that because Finny had low grades, he wanted to lower Gene’s grades as well, so he could remain “better than” Gene. Gene... [continues]
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