A Separate Peace 8

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One of the most asked questions for A Separate Peace is: who exactly is the protagonist and antagonist? Most would agree that Gene is the protagonist, however is it Gene or Phineas that is the enemy? I believe that the real ‘bad guy’ in this book is Gene. He envied Phineas from the very beginning but didn’t admit it until a little later on. Whether it was getting away from trouble, having a natural athletic ability, or simply being modest and humble about things, Phineas seemed to have been better at almost everything.

In this novel, many events occur between Gene and Finny that foreshadow the inner conflict Gene faces. For example, Gene and Finny are rebellious and often end up in trouble with the teachers. However, because of Finny’s smooth words, he is able to get the both of them away from punishment almost every single time. After getting out of trouble multiple times, Gene admits that he couldn’t help but envy Finny “just a little bit.” Small events like those happened often, and the reader can sense a feeling of jealousy growing inside of Gene. As Finny continued to be absolutely great at everything, Gene began to envy him more. Due to Gene’s inner conflict, their friendship dramatically changes.

Gene plays the main character also known as the protagonist. He’s the narrator and brings the readers back fifteen years before as he tells his story of his life at Devon School. His actions and discoveries are what create the plot. For example, because Gene becomes a bitter and jealous person, he ends up creating a theory that Phineas is his rivalry (discovery). The darkness inside himself subconsciously forces him to jounce the limb, making Phineas fall (plot).

Although Gene is the protagonist, I believe he is also the antagonist. In the book, Gene and Phineas have a good friendship; there were no arguments and they got along just fine. Gene, however, begins to envy Finny with things as simple as smooth words and athletic ability. As time progressed, the...
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