A Separate Piece; Guilty or Not

Topics: Envy, Jealousy, Barry Levinson Pages: 3 (1094 words) Published: October 21, 2012
Bertrand Russell said, “Envy is one of the most potent causes of unhappiness. It is a universal and most unfortunate aspect of human nature because not only is the envious person rendered unhappy by his envy, but also wishes to inflict misfortune on others.” This is displayed perfectly in A Separate Piece by John Knowles, where green with envy, Gene jounces the limb in hopes to hurt Phineas. He is jealous of Phineas’ charisma, upset that Phineas keeps putting him into situations he doesn’t want to be in, and Gene also knows he isn’t as good a person as Phineas. Not only is Phineas impulsive and daring, he is also very charismatic.

Gene is jealous of Phineas’ charisma and ability to talk himself out of trouble. As Gene states in chapter two, “I was beginning to see that Phineas could get away with anything. I couldn’t help envying him that a little, which was perfectly normal. There was no harm in envying even your best friend a little,” (Gene, 19). “He had gotten away with everything. I felt a sudden stab of disappointment,” (Gene, 22). In both cases above, Gene himself states that he is envious of Phineas and is disappointed that Phineas didn’t get into trouble. Phineas’ charisma not only causes jealousy in Gene, but also puts him into possibly harmful situations.

Phineas always shames Gene into doing something Gene doesn’t want to do. On top of that, Phineas, on occasion, puts Gene into harm’s way, with or without knowing it. “Yes, he had practically saved my life. He had also practically lost it for me. I wouldn’t have been on that damn limb except for him. I wouldn’t have turned around, and so lost my balance, if he hadn’t been there,” (Gene, 26). “Then in the everyday, mediocre tone he used when he was proposing something really outrageous, he added, “Let’s go to the beach.” The beach was hours away by bicycle, forbidden, and completely out of bounds. Going there risked expulsion, destroyed the studying I was going to do for an important test the next...
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