A Separate Peace


Phineas "Finny"

Finny represents rebellion without malice, strength without pride, and friendship without judgment. Finny has a flippant charm, a natural instinct to lead, an ability to organize and rally, and an inborn spirit that is continually transcending all obstacles. At times Finny seems to live in a fantasy world constructed as a buffer between himself and reality. The truth, however, is that Finny secretly wants to fight in the war now engulfing the world.

As events play out, though, Finny must face a different war. His dream of active duty is dashed when he shatters his leg, and the battle he must fight is one against despair. To shield himself from despair, he pretends to live vicariously through Gene—but this is merely an act. Secretly, Finny writes to the various military services in an attempt to be admitted to duty.

Finny also succumbs to self-pity. Yet, when Leper Lepellier is found AWOL, Finny realizes that some suffer more than he. Finny realizes that he may not be able to fight in the war across the sea, but he can lead the charge in the moral war that encompasses all of the boys at Devon.

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Essays About A Separate Peace