Gene Forrester's difficult journey towards maturity and the adult world is a main focus of the novel, A Separate Peace, by John Knowles. Gene's journey begins the moment he pushes Phineas from the tree and the process continues until he visits the tree fifteen years later. Throughout this time, Gene must become self-aware, face reality and the future, confront his problems, as well as forgive and accept the person that he is. With the jouncing of the limb, Gene realizes his problems and the true person he is inside. Fifteen years later, when revisiting the tree, he finally accepts and forgives himself. This journey is a long and painful one. At the end of this long and winding road filled with ditches, difficulties and problems, Gene emerges a mature adult.
Gene jounces the limb and causes Finny's fall and at that moment becomes aware of his inner-self and learns of his true feelings. This revelation comes to him back in his room before he and Finny leave for the tree. It surrounds him with the shock of his true self until he finally reacts by jouncing the limb. Up in the tree, before the two friends are about to make their "double-jump", Gene sees Finny in this new light. He realizes that Finny feels no jealousy or hatred towards him and that Finny is indeed perfect in every way. Gene becomes aware that only he is the jealous one. He learns of his animosity and that he really is a "savage underneath". Over a long period of time Gene had been denying his feelings of hatred towards Finny, saying that it was normal for him to feel this way. Now all of the feelings come back to him and he sees how terrible he really is. The realization that these feelings are one-sided causes Gene to to fall dramatically in comparison to Finny (he paints himself black for these feelings and because Finny doesn't share them, he puts a halo around Finny's head), concludes with the neccessity for Finny to be brought down to his level, and results with...
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