John Knowles' A Separate Peace depicts many examples of how power is
used. In A Separate Peace, two opposing characters struggle for their own
separate might. Gene Forrester, the reserved narrator, is weakened by his
struggle for power. While, Phineas was inspired by his own power within. The
novel conveys how peace can weaken or inspire during a mental war.
Phineas, a natural rebel, is known as the best athlete in school. For
example, he and three others come to look at a tree, which is considered among
the Upper Middler students at Devon an impossibility. Phineas demonstrates his
supreme power by stating that the tree is, indeed, a "cinch" (p. 6). No Upper
Middler had dared to do the unthinkable, vaulting off a tree to land in a
shallow river. Phineas is the first to do this. This single statement tells us
much about him. He doesn't mind taking risks, enjoys intimidating others, and
over exaggerates. It tells that he is very strong and powerful to be able to do
what others can not do. The denotation of power is "the capability of achieving
something." Not only is Phineas achieving something from jumping off this tree,
he is achieving power by gaining the respect of fellow classmates. Phineas'
spontaneity inspires many others to be like himself and jump off the tree.
Another example of Phineas' power is his character establishing scene of
disrespect to the school by wearing his pink shirt and the Devon School tie as
his belt. We here, again, see him as the spontaneous individual who "can get
away with anything" (p.18). Phineas' nature inspired Mr. Patch-Withers, a
teacher at Devon. Phineas has an eloquence about himself, allowing him to get by
with so much. Phineas "might have rather enjoyed the punishment if it was done
in some kind of novel and known way" (p.20). Even with negative actions,
Phineas can enjoy a situation if it presents something new and... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(1999, 10). A Separate Peace: Contrasting Gene and Phineas and the Struggle for Po. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Separate-Peace-Contrasting-Gene-Phineas-Struggle-5092.html
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