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A Separate Peace Essay

Essay by review  •  December 7, 2010  •  Essay  •  948 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,307 Views

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A Separate Peace Essay

In the novel, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the protagonist, Gene Forrester "battled" within himself to find "a separate peace" and in this process directed his emotions at Phineas, his roommate. Forrester and Phineas formed the illusion of a great companionship, but there was a "silent rivalry" between them in Forrester's mind. Self deceptions in Forrester led him to believe that Phineas was "out to get him" (Forrester). Subconsciously Forrester jounced the limb of the tree and forced Phineas to fall and break his leg. Phineas found out the truth of his "accident" with the help of Leper Lepellier and Brinker Hadley, who were friends that attended Devon High School. Gene Forrester's conflict between his resentment of and loyalty toward Phineas' personality and athletic abilities was resolved by the death of Phineas.

Gene Forrester and Phineas formed an illusion of a great companionship, which was sincere when they jumped from the "forbidden" tree. "We were the best of friends at that moment," said Forrester when he remembered the instant (Knowles 10). Forrester "looked deeper" into his relationship with Phineas and became jealous of his talents, "I was beginning to see that Phineas could get away with anything. I couldn't help envying that a little, which was perfectly normal" (18). A "silent rivalry" was developed between Forrester and in his mind Phineas. Forrester attempted to become "better" than Phineas by studying more and maintaining a higher average between his academic and athletic

abilities as opposed to his rival, "Phineas was without question the best athlete, so in that way we were even. But while he was a very poor student I was a pretty good athlete, and when everything was thrown into the scales they would in the end tilt definitely toward me (Forrester,)" (47). The "rivalry" inside Forrester led him to believe that Phineas had these feelings of resentment toward him (Forrester,) and was also competing to be the "best".

Self deceptions inside of Gene Forrester led him to believe that Phineas was "out to get him". Forrester realized that, "Finny had deliberately set out to wreck my studies" (45), when Phineas said, "I'd kill myself out of jealous envy" (44) (if Forrester was valedictorian). Having believed Phineas, Forrester came to another realization that Phineas had created blitzball and the Super Suicide Society to distract him (Forrester) from being "the best". Phineas did not know that Forrester needed to study in order to get good grades; "I didn't know you needed to study," (50) he said when Forrester wanted to stay and study rather than go to the Super Suicide Society meeting. Phineas thought that academics came naturally to Forrester as athletics came to him (Phineas). Forrester took Phineas trying to be a friend as him trying to distract for his (Forrester's) academics.

The Super Suicide Society meeting was held for Leper Lepellier to jump from the "forbidden" tree. To open the meeting Phineas and Forrester tried a double jump. "Holding firmly to the trunk, I (Forrester) took a step toward him (Phineas), and then bent my knees and jounced the limb" (52). Subconsciously Forrester

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