A Separate Peace: Character Analysis

Decent Essays
In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the events are primarily driven by the characters. The book starts off with just a simple friendship. Gene and Phineas are best friends, and they have lots of adventures together. However, Gene mistrusts Phineas for some reason. He decides that Phineas must be trying to sabotage his academic career with all the ventures they take, and vows to himself to be better at school than Phineas is at sports. Gene resents Phineas, his own “best friend,” and pushes him out of a tree. Without Gene’s misplaced hatred, the main conflicts of the story would not have happened. Other characters drive the plot further as well by trying to uncover what really happened when Phineas broke his leg. The choices the characters

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    The narrator decides to take liability for Doodle, and teach him to be traditional; however, he teaches Doodle out of selfishness. The narrator is humiliated by having a disabled brother, so he tries everything in his power to force Doodle to conform to societal expectations. During World War I, being different is considered unacceptable. The narrator grows up in a time where everyone has to be the same, so he attempts to mold Doodle into an ideal boy that complies to the expectations of humanity. Therefore, the narrator only helps his brother because he’s embarrassed of his disabilities and doesn’t sincerely care about how Doodle…

    • 1027 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    As the novel goes through, Gene develops a love-hate relationship with Finny, whom he alternately adores and envies. Then the fear of being inferior to Finny begins to flourish. Comparing to Finny, Gene cannot be as good as him at sports, at his courage and freedom to break rules, and also at his leadership. Thus, Gene tries to beat Finny with grades, and he even suspicions of Finny trying to sabotage his grades and betrays him. Additionally,…

    • 2098 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Gene starts to believe that Finny is trying to sabotage his grades. This deep rooted envy of Finny even drives Gene to Knowingly break Finny's leg. A good example of this is when Finny wears the school tie as a belt but does not get caught. “ He had gotten away with everything. I felt a sudden stab of disappointment.” (P28) A probable cause of all this envy is Gene’s insecurity.…

    • 574 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    On the other hand, in Gene mind Finny becomes less of a friend and more of an opponent to be beaten. Although Gene is smart academically and Phineas the best athlete, Gene feels he still has to beat him. Forrester unspoken sense of competition add tension to their friendship. The tension and jealousy of finny corrupts their friendship and leads Gene to ‘jounce’ Phineas out of the tree. IN the article “An overview of A Separate Peace”, the author states “He recognize his attraction to deadly things and more significantly, he writes a narrative about his relationship with Phineas revealing the flaws in his own character which led to Phineas death” (Alton).…

    • 832 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The Scarlet Ibis by James Hurst tells a story of two brothers, Brother and Doodle. Brother is narrating the tale from an adult perspective. Doodle’s life is very difficult, everyone thought he was going to perish; he pulled through because of love with a small twist of wickedness. Furthermore, Brother only wants to help Doodle to correspond with other children because he wants to avoid embarrassment of having a younger brother who cannot walk, this is only a battle with his self worth. As the narrative continues, Hurst utilizes three symbols to show the complexity of sibling relationships.…

    • 1031 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Gene has started to become so paranoid that it becomes very obvious that he is overthinking the friendship and that there is no way Finny could have such evil intentions. All Finny seems to want to do is hang out around Gene and be best pals, but Gene foolishly convinced himself that they are nothing but sworn enemies. Later, hatred and resentment of Finny builds up. Finny and Gene are in the tree together when Gene explains, “Holding firmly to the trunk, I took a step toward him, and then my knees bent and I jounced the limb” (60). The paranoia streaming through his mind, his hatred and jealousy of Finny made him so evil as to cause his closest friend to lose his balance and plummet from the tall tree.…

    • 1255 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Gene was a paranoid, selfish. jealous, and intelligent teen at the Devon Academy where he attended high school with Phineas. He felt that he was being challenged in their friendship and tried to eliminate the competition by making Phineas fall out of a tree near the river. Phineas was effected in the aspect that he was no longer able to play sports or enlist like many of the other boys at the Devon Academy. Phineas became so paranoid about the war and about the competition with Phineas that he ended up ruining their friendship and then had to deal with regret for the rest of his life.…

    • 489 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The tasks start getting bigger which makes his risk of death higher. In the final part of the story the storyteller pushes his brother too far and he took a hard fall which killed his brother. The narrator's moral frailty is that he is ashamed of his brother. A true protagonist would not care that they have disabled brother, but they would help them achieve anything to their best ability. In the “Scarlet Ibis” the narrator is helping his brother to get better for selfish reasons and not because Doodle wants it.…

    • 1053 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Decent Essays

    In the novel A Separate Peace by John Knowls, there are signs of jealousy and naiveté that causes problems for the two main characters. Despite the fact Finny is too naive to realize how his best friend, Gene, is jealous of him it then “destroys” him. When all he is trying to do is forget about the dreadful war and stay youthful, which isn’t so easy to do. One of the main issues is Phineas is so energetic and cheery he doesn’t realize what Gene’s jealousy is doing to him. He keeps on going on with his life, not even giving a second thought to what is happening to his best friend.…

    • 342 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Another setback on Finny 's decision is the problem of his broken leg. Finny 's broken leg is a result of a conflict between he and Gene and the fall from the tree. His injury prohibits him from doing any form of athletics ever again. The fall from the tree symbolizes the climax of the war between Gene and Finny and also foreshadows a loss of innocence in the boys. It symbols a loss of innocence in the boys because Finny has not a clue that Gene did this to him, but when Finny finds out, conflict and war begin to erupt, although Gene assumed it would be over.…

    • 1166 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays