English II, Green, 5th
A Separate Peace --Literary Analysis
Introduction: John Knowles writes a riveting novel titled A Separate Peace (1960). John tells the tale of Gene and Finny’s coming of age during World War II in New England at a all boys school . But most importantly how jealousy can change friendship, maturity, and mortality.
Plot Summary: Gene’s jealousy blinds him into believing pushing his best friend Finny off a tree is just what he deserves. Once the fog of envy disappears Gene instantly feels regretful. At first Finny tries to deny the fact that Gene his best friend just pushed him off the limb, but he can‘t run from the truth forever. But just when it seems Gene and Finny can carry on with their friendship tragedy strikes again with a final blow and Finny is gone…for good.
Jealousy is just one of a slew of negative emotions in A Separate Peace. What makes these feelings so difficult is that they're accompanied by admiration, respect, and love – all the ingredients for one very confusing friendship between adolescent boys. We see that jealousy drives people to unthinkable actions, understood least of all by those responsible for it.
It becomes apparent in only the second chapter that Gene is extremely jealous of Finny “Phineas could get away with anything”(Knowles 25) he later goes on to admit “I couldn’t help envying him”(Knowles 25). The unhealthy thing about Gene’s jealousy is that he wanted his best friend to get caught, punished, anything so people wouldn’t think of him as some sort of perfectionist. “he wasn’t getting away with it”(Knowles 27). But as fate would have it “Phineas was going to get away” (Knowles 28). This jealousy grows and finds new things to envy about Finny, subconsciously Gene knew he would be able to get even, but we wasn't prepared for how soon that would be.
When Finny and Gene are in the tree, I can only imagine all the thoughts flying through Gene’s head in that...