Summary Of A Separate Peace By John Knowles

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“A Separate Peace” by John Knowles takes place at Devon school during World War II. Narrated by Gene Forrester, readers are able to experience his emotions and thoughts of his life during the time spent at his boarding school. Human emotions and suspicions can cause people to make irrational decisions. Phineas is flawless, to Gene, and his perfection displeases Gene. When the boys at Devon School were having tea with four masters and their wives, Phineas was caught wearing the school tie as a belt. “This time he wasn’t going to get away with it. I could feel myself becoming unexpectedly excited at that.”(pg.27) Gene believed that his friend was out of tricks and wouldn’t be able to wiggle his way out. Using his wits, Phineas was able to create …show more content…
Phineas apologized and told Gene that he never considered that Gene needed to study since he was very smart. When Gene realized that Phineas never believed that there was a competition, he snapped. “I was not of the same quality as he. I couldn’t stand this.” (pg.59) As a result, Gene’s jealousy towards Phineas grew in an instant because no matter how hard he tried to become better than Phineas he could not succeed. Envy drove Gene to bring serious injuries to innocent Phineas, who had no idea that there was ever a battle between the two of them. “Holding firmly to the trunk, I took a step toward him. and then my knees bent and I jounced the limb.”(pg.59-60) Blinded by jealousy, Gene destroyed Phineas’s life over something petty. If Gene had just ignored his negative feelings he wouldn’t have done a malevolent deed. Human emotions and suspicions can cause people to make irrational decisions. John Knowles effectively shows how a harmless amount of competitiveness can grow into a monster fed by fear and jealousy. The audience of the novel are able to experience emotions similar to theirs but have grown out of control. Understanding that destruction can come from unexpected causes, the readers can assimilate life lesson but avert the unpleasant experience they would have had to go through. Jealousy and fear together can teardown the world and the delicate system of relationships of people all

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