A Separate Peace

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A Separate Peace
“Shut up, or I will kill you!” Finny, a senior at Devon Academy, yells at his best friend Gene in A Separate Peace by John Knowles. Gene has just told Finny the truth about Gene causing Finny to fall out of a tree resulting in a broken leg. Finny acts against one of his three rules and denies the truth, transforming from living in the truth to living in denial. The transformation contributes to the outcome of the novel by creating the internal conflict of denial within Finny which leads him to deny the truth about the tree and to deny the existence of a war.

When Gene tells Finny the truth, Finny transforms from living in the truth to living in denial. Finny before the transformation had always told the truth and exactly the truth. He believed that one should always live in the truth. When Gene reveals that he caused Finny to fall out of the tree Finny can’t accept it: “ ” Finny pretends that Gene didn’t mean to say what he did. Finny has a win-win philosophy and didn’t have enemies: “ ” Because of Finny’s mentality he can’t understand why Gene would make him fall out of the tree. Finny decides to live as if Gene hadn’t made him fall out of the tree. Finny doesn’t understand the world of win-lose where each one’s goal is to beat others. Because he doesn’t understand win-lose Finny is unable to deal with the possibility that Gene wants Finny to “lose.” Therefore Finny has to live in denial of the truth.

Finny continues to use living denial as a way to deal with things he doesn’t understand when he denies the existence of the war. Finny tells Gene several times that the war is fake. He believes that there are people who are trying to convince everyone about a fake war: “ ” When Finny is approached by a teacher and asks if Gene is training for the war, Finny bluntly responds no and says nothing more: “ ” Finny refuses to believe that here is a war. War in itself is a win-lose situation. People kill each other to try to “win.” Finny because of...
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