Conflict In A Separate Peace

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The battle someone faces can help in recognizing who he or she truly is. The utilization of the knowledge they discover on their journey will determine the result of their battle. For this battle to even begin, a force of opposition must be present. In John Knowles novel A Separate Peace, he conveys the battle Gene Forrester goes through to discover himself. Gene’s battle occurs at the Devon School, where he discovers the existence of his enemy. Other characters in the novel such as Leper are going through similar battles over the reality of the world. The concurrent war and other battles impact Gene’s own conflict. Gene thinks of Phineas [Finny], his best friend as his enemy until he realizes that his true enemy is himself because of his envy …show more content…
Gene is now able to understand the fallacies in Finny’s flawless, but unrealistic, world; therefore he is free to address his true foe. He understands that he was symbolizing his desire to be like his best friend by detesting Finny for possessing all the qualities Gene himself craved. Finny’s death causes Gene’s misperception to die as well: "I did not cry then or ever about Finny...I could not escape a feeling that this was my own funeral, and you do not cry in that case” (Knowles 186). Gene now realizes that he cannot become his best friend because the perceived qualities of Finny that he coveted were not realistic and that no one truly existed with the possession of all of those ideal traits. He learns to accept his flaws and imperfections, and stops comparing himself to others; hence, Gene reaches a state of “separate peace” because he can now peacefully accept himself as he is without insanely striving to be someone else. Unlike the other characters, Gene is able to reach peace through the experiences of others and at the Devon School. Gene reflects, “…My war ended before I ever put on a uniform; I was on active duty all my time at school; I killed my enemy there” (Knowles 196). He fights his battle, his need to accept himself against his …show more content…
The battles the other characters face in the novel and the events occurring in the world at that time influence Gene’s interpretation on how to defeat one’s enemy. Knowles’ novel conveys the conflict every person goes through at some point in his or her life. They will desire to be someone else in some or all aspects of life, but will eventually realize that each person has an individual, unique identity. Through a state of reflection, they will discover knowledge that will result in their “separate peace,” which is accepting their individuality and knowing that it comes with its shares of good and bad. Fighting an internal battle with a symbolic enemy can restrict one from reaching peace because the fight is not against the person, but rather the desire within to be someone else. The realization of one’s true enemy will allow them to find their own “separate peace”, and embrace their

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