A Separate Peace by John Knowles

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Brandon Wilde
Mrs. Jones
4th Honors Lit/Comp
30 March 2011
Gene’s War
In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, Gene Forrester returns to Devon School. While he is there, he remembers all the good memories and adventures that he had with his best friend Phineas while WWII took place. As a quick and irrational action, Gene jolts the limb of the tree they were on causing Finny to fall to the end of his athletic career and all hopes of making it to the Olympics are shattered. Gene, wallowing in guilt, agrees to fill in for Finny and Gene begins to train for the Olympics. Although Gene and Finny were getting along, Brinker forced Finny to accept the fact that Gene had jostled the limb on purpose ruining the friendship bond between Finny and Gene. However, when Finny fell down the stairs and re-broke his leg, Gene comes to visit but finds that Finny is dead. Throughout the novel Gene was at war with himself, Finny, and Brinker the whole time, even without going to the war. Gene was at war with himself from the very start. He was fighting his savage heart and his jealousy and hatred towards Finny. Gene had to face the fact that he had purposely injured Finny even though Finny had not done anything wrong. Gene fought himself while debating if he should enlist or if he should stay at Devon School. His fear for losing and being looked down upon was another major enemy in Gene’s life at school. Gene had to fight against Brinker, who knew the truth about the accident in the tree. Brinker was able to deduce that Gene caused Finny’s fall on purpose and he would stop at nothing to prove that he was right. In the process of being right, he destroyed Gene and Finny’s friendship. Gene fought Brinker because Brinker was trying to ruin the bond that Gene and Finny had. Gene was also at war with Finny. Gene’s jealousy of Finny’s athleticism, popularity, and charisma, causes him to act savage and without thought or realization of what he was doing until after it was too late....
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