What Is The Central Theme In John Knowles Song: Jealousy

760 Words 4 Pages
Julien Berry
Theme: Jealousy in A Separate Peace
Song: Jealousy by Natalie Merchant
Thesis Statement: People are often ruled by their emotions and can let those emotions impact their actions; for better or for worse. Jealousy is one such emotion that can cloud judgement and effect behavior. Jealousy is a central theme in the book A Separate Peace written by John Knowles, and drives the actions and behaviors of the characters within the novel. The book is about two friends, Gene and Finny, and their relationship during their school year together at Devon. Throughout the book, jealousy creeps into Gene and Finny’s relationship as their friendship matures and develops.
Text Example 1: “Phineas could get away with anything. I couldn't help
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Text Example 3: “Finny never permitted himself to realize that when you won they lost. That would have destroyed the perfect beauty which was sport. Nothing bad ever happened in sports” (page 35).
Lyric Example 2: "Is she fine so well bred"
Reasoning: Gene is not just jealous of how easily Finny avoids consequences, but also of Finny’s success in athletics; again, qualities that Gene wishes he possessed. This type of jealousy is echoed in Natalie Merchant’s song when she expresses jealousy for someone that is fine and well bred; qualities she would like to possess.
Text Example 4: "Was he trying to impress me or something? Not tell anybody? When he had broken a school record without a day of practice?" (page 44)
Reasoning: Gene envies how sports and athletics are not only effortless for Finny, but also how Finny doesn’t even want anyone to know about his amazing record.
Text Example 5: "I should have told him then that he was my best friend... But something held me back." (page
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Text Example 8: "He was no better than I was no matter who won all the contests." (page 56)
Reasoning: Gene tries to rid himself of jealousy by telling himself he is as good as Finny.
Text Example 9: "If I was the head of the class and won that prize, then we would be even..." (page 52)
Reasoning: In an act to clear jealousy, Gene again tries to convince himself that he would be equal to Finny if he were given the same opportunities.
Text Example 10: "Phineas would be the first to disclaim any great mental power in himself. (page 52)
Reasoning: Gene wrestles with the idea that Finny could ever beat him in a contest academically, and enviously develops fears that Finny could beat him in the classroom, on top of all his other

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