A Sepate Peace Themes

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In many known literary works, the theme of betrayal appears and breaks apart friendships. In A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, Gene Forrester betrays his best friend, Phineas, in-between his feelings of envy and guilt towards “Finny”. While this applies to their friendship in the book, it also applies to a world-wide controversy regarding jealousy and shame from guilt. Since they began their friendship, Gene has always been secretly jealous of Phineas. Since he is the star athlete and can practically get out of any predicament he comes across, Gene feels like a sidekick while Finny is the hero. Gene gets jealous every time Finny gets away with a rule being broken, because he knows he wouldn't have gotten away with it if he was the person who disobeyed. For example, in chapter 2, Finny gets caught wearing the school tie as a belt by the school's strictest Summer Sessions Master, Mr. Patch-Withers. While he attempts to explain his bogus reasoning for such a offense, Gene stands behind secretly hoping he won't get away with this. After his reasoning that “it all ties together with what [they've] been talking about, bombing in Central Europe...,” Mr. Patch-Withers falls under his charm and laughs it off in amusement as it is the “strangest tribute the school has had in a hundred and sixty years.” (Knowles, 27-28). Because everyone loves, idolizes, and wants to be Finny, Gene feels as if he is a nobody and envies him for it. During a fit of envy, Gene “jounced the limb”, causing Finny to lose his balance on the big tree and he fell in the shallow river beneath them (Knowles, 60). After he hit the ground with a unusual crack, Gene jumps off into the deep part and gets help from the infirmary. For awhile, Gene doesn't care that he has caused Phineas' leg to be shattered, but is happy that he can no longer play sports and be the “star” everyone calls him. Gene's envy has caused him to be a terrible friend, and later he regrets it. After regretting his actions of...
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