Separate Peace Essay

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Separate Peace Essay

Finding one’s identity is an important step growing up or maturing. And being in a codependent relationship prevents one from forming one’s own identity. In A Separate Peace, author John Knowles portrays the relationship between codependency and identity to assert that codependency stymies the creation of one’s own identity.

Feeling of inferiority and insecurity lays the way in the forming of a codependent relationship. Gene and Finny start off their friendship feeling equal, but quickly Gene begins to feel inferior in the face of Finny’s seeming perfection. Gene has a huge ego. His life revolves around competition. Everyday life is transformed to a constant war with everyone around him. He sees everyone he encounters as his rivals and enemies. He says about sports, “It was as though football players were really bent on crushing the life out of each other……as though even a tennis ball might turn into a bullet”. (Knowles pp.84) Gene sees matters of life and death in harmless games of sports. Gene is never comfortable with his own identity. He is envious of those who are better than him and treat them as enemies. He grows extremely jealous of Finny for his athletic talents and ability to flout the rules. He cannot bear to feel inferior to anyone, even his friend; they are all his enemies. He is determined to be better than Finny in academics, in order to not feel inferior to Finny. Being the best in academics would equate Gene with Finny, who was best in athletics. Gene imagines that Finny is no less selfish than him and that they both hated each other in their rivalry. He imagines Finny is only pretending to be his friend to sabotage him. Gene interprets all of Finny’s actions as made in rivalry to him. Finny actually thinks of him as his best friend and never saw him as an enemy. Gene’s later discovery that Finny genuinely wants him to do well destroys the balance of his world, in which they both are enemies competing against each...
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