Another explanation is that Gene is acting on his admiration and jealousy by trying to become his hero. A Separate Peace reads like a long diary entry in which Gene tries to sort out what happened between him and Finny that summer at Devon and what has happened to him emotionally ever since.
At the end of the novel, Gene gratefully accepts the forgiveness of his friend, whose death he mourns in silence, as he readies himself to face the world without resentment or fear. For example, the book was challenged in the Vernon-Verona-Sherill, NY School District as a "filthy, trashy sex novel"  despite having no substantial female characters and describing no sexual activity.
Gene starts to become Phineas. It is never clear whether, in jouncing Finny from the tree, the young Gene is motivated by an unconscious impulse or a conscious design. Do you see a common thread here? So he becomes someone else: We first meet him as an older man returning to the place where he spent his adolescence; we thus initially attribute the wisdom of maturity to him and assume that he brings a certain degree of perspective to his memories of Devon.
High in the tree with his friend, Gene impulsively jounces the limb and causes Finny to fall.
At the time, World War II is taking place and has a prominent effect on the story. On his way out, Finny falls down a flight of stairs the same ones Gene visits at the beginning of the novel and again breaks the leg he had shattered before. As a student, he was extremely intelligent, vying for valedictorian.
Finny, however, takes such delight in the dangerous, forbidden jump that he forms the Suicide Society and invites all the Devon boys to test their courage by jumping from the tree into the river. Assertions of homoerotic overtones[ edit ] Various parties have asserted that the novel implies homoeroticism between Gene and Finny, including those who endorse a queer reading of the novel, and those who condemn homosexuality as immoral.
The two forgive each other. Walking through the campus in the cold November mist, Gene remembers his experiences at Devon during World War II, especially the Summer Session ofwhen he was 16 years old. A solid but not a brilliant student who succeeds through discipline, obedience, and conventional thinking, Gene at once admires and envies Finny, his roommate, for whom athletic — if not scholastic — success comes so easily.
At first Finny does not believe him and afterward feels extremely hurt.
In that time and place, my characters would have behaved totally differently. At a tree by the river, Gene thinks of his friend and roommate, Phineas nicknamed Finnythe best athlete in the school. On the one hand, he was clearly feeling jealous beforehand, he felt better immediately after, he feels guilty as hell a little bit after that, he admits to jouncing the branch, and he even confesses his crime to Phineas.
He was driven by impulse and emotional need without fully recognizing this or coming to terms with it.
He is thoughtful and intelligent, with a competitive nature and a tendency to brood. Later that day, in an operation to set the leg again, Finny dies when some marrow from the broken bone enters the bloodstream and stops his heart.In the late s, 15 years after graduation, Gene Forrester returns to Devon, an elite prep school in New Hampshire.
Walking through the campus in the cold Nov. Gene Forrester. Gene is the novel’s narrator, and he tells the story as a flashback, reflecting on his days at the Devon School from the vantage point of adulthood. Gene Forrester - The narrator and protagonist of the novel.
When A Separate Peace begins, Gene is in his early thirties, visiting the Devon School for the first time in years. He is thoughtful and intelligent, with a competitive nature and a tendency to brood.
He develops a love-hate relationship. The main character in A Separate Peace by John Knowles, struggles with jealousy, insecurity, and guilt which all become main themes in the novel. The main character and narrator is Gene Forrester.
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