A Separate Peace - Denial of Truth

Topics: World War II, Denial, Truth Pages: 5 (2098 words) Published: October 8, 1999
The novel A Separate Peace focuses mainly around a 17 year old named Gene Forrester and his psychological development. The story is set in a boys boarding school in USA during World War II. There are four main boys in the novel and they all undergo major character changes through the story. One of them goes crazy, and the others experience severe attitude changes. Gene is caught right in the center of these changes. He is very close with all of the other three boys, and thus all of the changes affect him very much. Due to all the tension occurring in this novel because of the war and events going on at the school, there is a lot of denial of truth happening. Three of the four boys mentioned earlier deny the truth at sometime in the story. This denying of truth sometimes ends with the person who committed the fault in a bad condition at the end of the book, and sometimes in good condition. So it can be said that there were both positive and negative results for each of the denials of the truth, but these will be explained more in-depth in the following paragraphs.

Although it starts after half the book is finished, one of the major examples of denying the truth in the novel is Finny denying the reality of the war. Though it is disclosed at the end that Finny knew all along about the war, he succeeds, after a little time, in making Gene truly believe in the non-existence of the war (although Gene claims that he did not really believe the story, his behavior around his classmates and his actions say otherwise). The first result we see of this denial is Finny's confession of his bitterness towards the world because of his loss. This destroys the image we have of Finny as a "perfect" person because it shows that he blames the world for his accident. It also stuns Gene so much that he begins to do pull-ups, even though he has never done even ten before. With Finny's verbal help, Gene manages to do thirty. This solidifies the friendship between them. After this moment, Finny decides to take Gene into his confidence and tells him he wanted to go to the 1944 Olympics, but that Gene will have to go instead, and goes on to start training Gene. Finally, after many mornings of hard training, Gene finally "[finds] his rhythm". Superficially, it can be said that due to Finny's ruse about the war, Gene became very athletic. A deeper study shows that the incident is much more meaningful than this. It symbolizes Gene coming into his own. The author writes that Finny "seemed older that morning…he seemed smaller too. Or perhaps it was only that I, inside the same body, had felt myself all at once grown bigger". It may also be said that on this morning Finny (a model of athleticism) became part of Gene. So, it can be seen that Finny's denying the reality of the war was truly one of the more important examples of denial of truth in the novel because it resulted in, among other things, a greater bonding between Finny and Gene and shattered the image of Finny being truly composed and serene.

Another example of denial of truth would be Leper. Leper, as is obvious throughout the story, continuously denies reality. He is very often be in his own ‘dream world', and when he isn't he is shy and hesitant to show his true feelings. This was likely because he was "difficult not to make fun of". For example, at the beginning of the book, when he claims Gene's jump was better than Finny's and is rebutted by Finny, "he didn't argue or refuse. He didn't back away. He became inanimate". There are also many examples of his not being conscious of his surroundings. One of them is when Gene is thinking about him when he sees him on his way to clearing railroads. Gene recalls that while most of the boys are listening to the announcements, Leper "made little sketches of birds and trees in the back of his notebook". Then, when Gene strolls up to talk to Leper, Leper comments about skiing paths. Someone choosing to ski over helping clear a major...
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