A Separate Peace Analysis

This essay has a total of 737 words and 3 pages.

A Separate Peace


The Mind Murders the Body
"Adolescent friendships are of the most complex companionships due to the suppressed
feelings of contempt one child may feel toward another." The deterioration of the complex
friendship of Gene and Phineas is brought about in John Knowles' A Separate Peace by the
combination of their envy and denial. Finny and Gene begin their summer of 1942 with the
illusion of a great companionship. Gene's paranoia and envy disrupt the relationship
between him and Finny. As their friendship disintegrates, Finny and Gene deny that the
problems in their alliance even exist, which in turn leads to a tragic catastrophe.


Gene and Finny initiate their summer of 1942 with the false perception that their
friendship is flawless. At the beginning of the story, Gene seems to accept Finny's
superior athletic ability, but he resents what he feels was Finny flaunting his abilities.
Finny demonstrates his superior agility to Gene when he grabs Gene's hand, lending him
support when he loses his balance during one of their routine jumps from a towering tree.
Gene feels that he should not feel any "rush of gratitude toward Phineas," because he does
not like feeling clumsier than Finny. Instead, he blames his presence in the tree on
Phineas. Finny also has the role of being the leader in their friendship. They sustain the
balance of the friendship when Phineas thinks of something to do, and Gene supports him.
The problem with this is that Gene only trails Finny so that he would not "lose face with
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