A Separate Peace
by John Knowles
Although Gene is the narrator and main protagonist of the novel, he is technically not a heroic character. He is, rather, an observer of heroism embodied by Finny. Gene is, in fact, the antithesis of Finny; he is not particularly athletic; his not a leader; he prefers to follow the rules and be anonymous; he has no great ambition; he has little imagination (but what little he has tends to run away with him). He is not particularly charitable or selfless, and the only thing at which he is capable of excelling is study.
Gene wants to belong to something. More specifically, he wants to belong to Finny. However, Gene is definitely a conflicted character, for while he wishes to be accepted by and united with Finny, he also harbors a secret envy and spite for him. Gene struggles to overcome the war within himself and to make sense of the illusory peace he feels surrounding the boys at at Devon.Sign up to continue reading Gene >