To say that Gene remains static throughout the entire book would only represent that the individual making the claim lacks understanding of the definition of the word. Gene is highly dynamic and every changing from chapter to chapter due to constant twists in the plot of the story as well as the breaking of the Peace at Devon. Gene undergoes three major changing points in the story that shape the transformed individual he is to become in the end of the novel. The first major point of change for Gene came as a result of his outing with Finny to the beach. Finny convinces Gene to accompany him to the shore claiming that Gene needs to have some fun and that he would show him how. What makes this situation special is that fact that they are not supposed to leave school grounds without permission; also, Gene has a test tomorrow that he insists he must study for. The fact that Gene agrees to this is completely unlike him as he is a strong advocate of following the rules, and is also studious and top of his class. As such it is very much so unlike him to follow Finny in his adventures in this case. More importantly however is the result of their outing that ever more so shows how Gene is a dynamic character. As the two are out all night and return the next day barley in time for Gene to take his test, Gene was unable to study and inevitably fails the test. It is at this point that Gene comes to what he believes is a sad realization. He thinks that Gene is plotting against him by trying to sabotage his up till now immaculate academic career and thereby assert his dominance in their friendship. This is a complete turnaround form the previous chapters of the book because in the eyes of Gene, they have gone from the best of friends to utter enemies. Eventually it becomes clear that Gene is not plotting against him which only worsens the situation. Now Gene is under the impression that Finny is both a better athlete as well as a better person than Gene. This drives him to the breaking point with an immense self-imposed fear against a non-existent self-imposed enemy. This leads him to succumb to his fears and jounce the limb of the tree the next time he and Finny climb the tree to jump. This only further corroborates the fact that he has indeed changed from his previous relationship with Finny as he has now deliberately sabotaged his safety. Not surprisingly, the next “stage” that overcomes Gene is one of guilt for the obvious wrong that he has done to Finny. The beginning of this stage in the book is marked by a once again changed Gene trying on Finny clothes while he is in the infirmary. He does this now claiming that he is a part of Finny and that he must now live his life for him. The guilt within Gene is then further exemplified when he visits Finny in the infirmary and tries to admit to him that he caused him to fall, but is prevented from doing so by Dr. Stanpole. Then, over a month later, Gene is still unable to cope with the guilt of ruining Finny’s life and does finally admit to him that he was the cause of the incident. After Finny refuses to accept this however Gene leaves. The guilty stage of the story is important as a stepping stone in showing the change that Gene has undergone thus far, as well as setting the groundwork for the following stage of the novel. The fact that Gene tried on Finny clothes while he was in the infirmary is also very important to this part of the book as it is a point of change as well, change in identity. The guilt, as described before, has caused Gene to undergo a change in identity, which he describes as him [Phineas] “becoming a part of him [Gene] now.” Gene is so disgusted with himself for having caused Finny's accident that he can't bear to be Gene anymore. This can be described as nothing other than absolute change of Gene’s entire persona. He begins to play sports on Finny’s behalf, he stops following the rules, and allows his grades to slip. All of his virtues from before the accident
There are various symbols encased in the writing of A Separate Peace. Throughout the novel, the reader is shown the school life of a boy named Gene and his best friend Finny. The book begins with Gene returning to Devon, the boarding school he attended, after 15 years. Gene has a flashback to 1942, where he goes through every detail leading up to the death of Finny. Symbols are a major characteristic in A Separate Peace because the Summer and Winter Sessions, the tree, and Finny’s broken…
English 1 CPE
14 January 2015
Changes At Devon
In the novel A Separate Peace, the main characters face many times of war and peace and have they have to make hard decisions to stay strong. These decisions changed the boys and everyone at the Devon either for the better or for the worse. Some of the times would be when Phineas fell from the tree, the winter carnival or when Phineas passed away at the end of the book. These times shaped one place in particular: Devon,…
A SEPARATE PEACE
By John Knowles
The novel is set at Devon, a private boarding
school in New Hampshire, during World War II.
The novel begins with the main characters, Gene
and Finny, at Devon for a summer session. The
school hopes that this session will allow students
to receive a diploma before they are drafted on
their 18th birthday. Gene and Finny are
roommates and friends at the school. Finny is a
natural athlete who also acts as a leader for the
other boys. Gene, however, is…
Bonnie Singh 11/14/13
English 10 Jill Veleas
In John Knowles’s, A Separate Peace, Gene Forrester discovers a darker, more sinister side of himself as his jealousy propels him to hurt his best friend. It is the evolving discovery of his own character that allows Gene to mature and develop as an individual. By succumbing to his primal hatred and by facing his own guilty conscience, Gene is able to grow develop a clearer outlook on life. The tragedy of Phineas’s death provided…
A Separate Peace
Genre – Fiction and Tragedy Adolescent Relationships
Antagonist & Protagonist
In the story A Separate Peace I believe that Gene is the protagonist and Brinker is his antagonist. This is because Brinker tells Gene that his failure to enlist comes from pity for Finny. He also says that Gene should put the accident in the past by seeing all the details come to light. Brinker hints darkly that Gene knows what he means. Meaning Brinker is starting to figure…
be a crime against humanity, for when they abandon that which makes them humane, they harm all things of good and peace. In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, characters Finny, Leper and Gene are all wounded literally or figuratively by some war waged against them. They are victims of an enemy who lost their humanity in the midst of anger, and rather than result to conflicts with peace and reasoning, resulted…
In the novel a Separate Peace by John Knowles two schoolboys become entangled in each other’s lives. They shield themselves from there problems only to face the grim reality that is the world. What Knowles is trying to say is that this youthful innocence and openness is no longer a positive trait in the world we live in today.
The most obvious area where we see this innocence is when Gene tries to tell Phineas that he hurt him. Phineas completely rejects this and refuses to believe that such a…
One major theme Knowles creates in A Separate Peace is the development of childhood into adulthood, and with that, the fall from innocence. The novel itself is a coming of age story that tells of Gene’s development into adulthood. Author James Ellis describes the plot of the novel as, “What happens in the novel is that Gene Forrester and Phineas, denying the existence of the Second World War as they enjoy the summer peace of Devon School, move gradually to a realization of an uglier adult world”…
4. How does the Winter Carnival offer a “separate peace” for the boys? How does it end?
5. Describe Gene’s visit with Leper and his character now:
1. Describe the “trial.” How does it affect Gene? How does it affect Finny?
2. Gene is asked to take Finny’s things to him the next morning and gets to talk to him. What does he say? What does he find out about Finny and the war? Do they come to some kind of peace in their friendship? How?
3. Gene gives…
1. Essential Element | Quote | Sentences |
Symbolism | “This was the tree, and it seemed to me standing there to resemble those men, the giants of your childhood, whom you encounter years later and find that they are not merely smaller in relation to your growth, but that they are…shrunken by age.” Ch. 1, Pg. 14 | The tree is symbolized to represent something grown up from. The tree is the past, and it was so much more meaningful before rather than now. The change in importance is due to Gene…