A Seperate Peace: Did Finny Do It on Purpose?

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John Knowles A Separate Peace is thought to be a memoir of the author himself, set during the heart of World War Two, and the aftermath of those years. The protagonist, Gene Forrester, a seemingly happy boy, hides fear and paranoia within. His best friend and the antagonist of the story, Finny, is his greatest competition. Throughout their years at school together, they become inseparable. But, as their friendship grows deeper, Gene’s paranoia grows with it. Finny is the schools top athlete and is loved and known by everyone. As the story progresses, Gene becomes something of his side-kick. Although this may be happening, Gene only thinks Finny is trying to get closer to him in order to ruin his athletic and academic career at the school. During the summer of their first year together, they form the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session. Initiation into this club involved jumping from a tree limb into a small river. The two boys are the first to do this of everyone at the school. During the summer session, the boys decide to make the jump together. Upon climbing onto the limb Finny tells Gene to jump first. As Finny is about to jump, he loses his balance, but Gene catches him and practically saves his life. During the next summer session, they decide to jump together again. This time, Finny walks out to the end first. He too begins to lose his balance, but this time because Gene purposefully “jounced the limb.” One can see he did this purposefully due to three key reasons. Firstly, their competition between each other and Genes obvious envy towards Finny. Secondly, the way eyewitnesses and Gene himself describe the situation. And lastly, Genes confession to Finny the year after. Finny’s athleticism is really the only thing that differentiates the two. This difference between them makes Finny the better and more “gifted” student at Devon. The thought that somehow taking away this talent of Finny’s would also take away the difference between them, making...
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