English Honors period 5
30 April 2015
A Separate Peace
In this passage, John Knowles use of Gene’s characterization to demonstrate the theme jealousy can lead to hatred that has negative consequences:
I was beginning to see that Phineas could get away with anything. I couldn’t help envying him that a little, which was perfectly normal. There is no harm envying even your best friend a little.
This time he wasn’t going to get away with it. I could feel myself becoming unexpectedly excited at that.
He had never been jealous of me for a second. Now I knew that there never was and never could have been any rivalry between us. I was not of the same quality as he.
Was he trying to impress me or something? Not tell anybody? When he had broken the school record without a day of practice? I knew he was serious about it, so I didn’t tell anybody. Perhaps for that reason his accomplishment took root in my mind and grew rapidly in darkness where I was forced to hide it.
I took a step toward him, and then my knees bent and I jounced the limb. Finny, his balance swung his head around to look at me for an instant with extreme interest, and then tumbled sideways, broke through the little branches below and hit the bank with a sickening, unnatural thud. It was the first clumsy physical action I had ever seen him make. With unthinking sureness I moved out on the limb and jumped into the river, every trace of my fear of this forgotten.
I never killed anybody and I never developed an intense level of hatred for the enemy. Because 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.
Here, John Knowles uses Gene’s…