A Separate Peace Analysis

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A Separate Peace, suggests that true friendship requires honesty between friends, because without honesty there is no trust between friends, and trust is the basis of a friendship.

Friendship is the main theme in John Knowles' novel A Separate Peace. Gene Forrester, an intellectual student and Finny, his roommate at Devon School, who is usually misbehaving, become friends. The two have opposing interests and personalities, yet still remain close friends. Gene, envying Finny's athletic ability, thinks that Finny, in return, envies his academic achievements, and he suspects that Finny is trying to divert him from his work. Gene's doubts turn into indignant hatred. When Gene learns that Finny had never tried to compete with him, Gene resents Finny all the more for Finny's lack of resentment toward him. Gene cannot stand that Finny might be a better person, so he then feels he has to make Finny his equal. To do that he has to take away the only thing giving Finny power over him; his ability to be carefree. With his fall from the tree, Finny's ability to be untroubled, honest, and cheerful is taken away.

Many times during the novel Finny is honest with Gene about the way he feels about their friendship. Rather then reveal his own feelings in return, Gene chooses to hide his feelings. This is the downfall in Gene and Finny's relationship. Had Gene been honest from the beginning with his suspicions of Finny, things may have turned out differently. This comes to show the importance of honesty in a friendship.

Interestingly enough, the one time that Gene decides to be open with Finny and confess his actions, Finny doe not believe him. Finny refuses to believe Gene's confession and his refusal makes Gene start to doubt his story himself so that he starts to accept Finny's interpretation. Gene is not a strong enough person to be honest about his feelings; he is human so he has human doubts and feelings. But, Finny, who becomes something close to a god, can declare...
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