John Knowles A Separate Peace

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“Envy is ignorance, imitation is suicide” (Emerson 370). Author John Knowles wrote A Separate Peace during the peak of World War II, and located it at the Devon School in New Hampshire. Gene Forrester, the protagonist, is an upper middler at Devon. He is one of the most intelligent students at Devon, but his envy gets the best of him. A Separate Peace emphasizes how Gene’s jealousy of Finny affect himself, their friendship, and shows how he succeeds at finding overall peace. Gene’s envy and imitation of Finny affect him personally. Gene would always go with what Finny would say because he wanted to be like him. “None of this mattered now, I would have agreed to anything” (Knowles 32). Finny asked Gene to jump out of the tree into the river. Everything Finny wanted Gene to do, …show more content…
He confronted his feelings and his issues by returning to Devon initially. “Looking back across 15 years I could see with a great clarity the fear I lived in” (Knowles 1). Gene returns to Devon hoping to find peace in what happened fifteen years before when he actually attended Devon. He wanted to see two specific things that meant a lot to him and were two important symbols in the novel. The two items begin to bring Gene’s old feelings to surface, explains to us why he acts the way he does towards Finny, and enlightens us on how he feels about war. Gene realizes that his war was already over because he already killed his enemy. Alton states “In the end, Gene realizes that his real enemy is himself and his impulse towards mindless destruction—and believes he overcame his enemy only after causing Phineas’ death”. Once Finny died, Gene noticed he felt more peaceful, but he also couldn’t help but to feel like a part of himself had died as well. Indicating he was also a part of being his own enemy. After that, all of his war issues were gone. His inner peace was only achieved after winning his own personal war within

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