A Separate Peace: Review

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Throughout the novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles the main character, Gene Forester, who is also the narrator, discovers who he is as a person. He has become a mature adult by the end of the book, as apposed to his adolescence in the beginning of the novel. He makes these discoveries through the events that take place during his time at Devon. Three places that show the development of Gene’s maturity are when Gene visits Finny in Boston, when he didn’t give in to Finny’s fantasy of the war and when Gene finally accepts that he played a role in Phineas’ death. These events cause Gene to mature greatly.

Gene’s increased maturity is first shown when he is returning to Devon after break and stops in Boston to visit Finny. The guilt of what Gene had done haunted him during the whole break. Gene confesses to deliberately jouncing the limb of the tree. When Finny becomes emotional Gene realizes, “ …I was injuring him again… this could be an even deeper injury than I had done before.” Gene thinks he is disturbing Finny’s view of the world. He is ruining the view of pureness and good Finny had. Gene’s realization shows that he has matured and sees what he is doing to Finny.

When Finny returns to Devon he refuses to believe that there is a war. He creates a fantasy of what is really going on. Gene has always been pulled into Finny’s fantasies about the world but he has learned how to keep himself in reality. Gene says, “For a moment I was almost taken in by it. Then my eyes fell on the bound and cast white mass pointing at me… it brought me down out of Finny’s world of invention… down to reality, to the facts.” Gene is no longer sucked into Finny’s views of the world. He is able to bring himself back to the realities of the world.

Gene’s maturity continues to grow throughout the novel and he reaches his biggest point of maturity growth upon the death of his best friend, Finny. Gene accepts that he played a role in Phineas’ death. He realizes that his jealousy...
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