Guilt In John Knowles A Separate Peace

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What side, emotions or actions? The book A Separate Peace by well known Yale graduate John Knowles is about two boys, Gene and Finny, and their life outside the war at a boarding school called Devon. The boys are best friends also loosely based of of John Knowles experience at a boarding school, and an accident happens in which Finny's fall from the tree and Gene's fall from innocence can be traced to unresolved tensions. Tensions created by the mixed feeling of envy and admiration in which Gene feels for Finny. A true individual, Finny enjoys pure freedom, natural flow of energy that expresses itself in his athletic strength and grace. However, Gene fights various inner battles within his friendship, jealousy, guilt, and aggression. In the …show more content…
Gene has guilt take over in most of the novel. Gene falls from innocence very quickly, and as a result is overcome with guilt. Let's start with when Gene causes a tragic accident: Finny’s fall. To get to the fall, the details are important leading up to Finny’s fall. Gene is in his room, studying. Thinking about leaving the Secret Suicide Society, and organization that Finny made up in free time. Meanwhile Finny barges into to Genes studies and announces that a fellow student is performing a feat. Gene is rather agitated at this point, and Finny only makes matter worse when he exclaims that he thought Gene never had to study. Out of nowhere Gene eventually agrees to go to the Secret suicide society meeting. As the boys arrive they plan to double jump out of a tree together, Gene has other ideas. Not necessarily wrong intentions. “Holding firmly to the trunk, I took a step toward him, and then my knees bent and I jounced the limb. Finny his balance gone, swung his head around to look at me for an instance with extreme interest… and hit the bank with a sickening unnatural thud”(60). Gene has made a terrible mistake, out of amusement, and without realising. The mistake will cost Finny’s life eventually in the book. Overwhelmed with guilt Gene cannot imagine how to fess up to this large …show more content…
Gene has spots within the novel that entail his more aggression side. Almost as though his aggressive emotions are uncontrollable. Though mistakes happen, there is no doubt that what Gene did to Finny is a form of aggression. In the novel a form of aggression comes from to liven up a dull winter, Finny invents the Winter Carnival, an event that takes place on the banks of the one of the rivers and includes sports, snow statues, music, and food. Towards the end of the celebration, Gene receives a telegram from a former student who recently enlisted: Leper Lepellier. The telegram claims that Leper needs help and Gene should meet at his house. Gene travels there to find that Leper has gone mentally ill. Although Leper knows the truth of Genes wrongdoing to Finny. Leper exclaims, like that time you knocked Finny out of the tree. Gene is overcome with a sense of aggression. “I shoved my foot against the rung of his chair and kicked” (145). Genes mind has seemed to be turned off at this moment, resulting in an outbreak. After the incident Leper’s mother comes down the stairs and Gene himself explains that he lost himself, apologizing. Genes battles with aggression urges are present in the book and definitely contributed to his

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