A Separate Peace- a Struggle for Innocence

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A Struggle for Innocence

Through out the novel, A Separate Peace, by Jonathan Knowles, a conflict between innocence and guilt is revealed. Gene Forrest, the narrator of the story returns to his school Devon, thirty years later to face the haunting memories of a past love-hate relationship. Though many people would argue the fact that Gene's character was not redeemed by the end of the novel, I on the other hand personally hold the opinion that Gene's character was. When you die to your self, you are dying to your own desires and your own will, and giving that up whether it is for a friend, or for a god. "I did not cry then or ever about Finny. I did not cry even when I stood watching him being lowered into his family's strait-laced burial ground outside of Boston. I could not escape a feeling that this was my own funeral, and you do not cry in that case" (186). Here it is left to interpretation; I believe this where Gene fell into reality. He was no longer in the fiction bubble of Devon, but in the real world of death and war. His eyes were opened to see his own internal conflict, but also the reality of his conflict with Finny. The love-hate relationship between Gene and Finny brought both innocence and deceit. Through out the novel we see a constant struggle of jealousy. Gene is envious of Finny's mental and physical capabilities, but we also so see Finny's secret jealousy of Gene when we come to see that Finny made up the conspiracy theory of the war only so he would not miss out on Gene's experience in the military. "I'll hate it everywhere if I'm not in this war! Why do you think I kept saying there wasn't any war all winter? I was going to keep on saying it until two seconds after I got a letter from Ottawa or Chungking or some place saying, ‘Yes, you can enlist with us.'" Momentarily, as though he had really gotten such a letter. "Then there would have been a war" (182). Yet after Gene comes to realize Finny's deception, he is still loyal...
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