A Separate Peace Final Essay

Submitted By thaatgirlsam
Words: 2468
Pages: 10

A Separate Peace
John Knowles

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 out the truth about what really happened at the tree. Gene sees Brinker as a threat , because he knows that the truth is finally slipping out in Devon. Although, I also believe that Phineas is the protagonist and Gene as his antagonist. In a Separate Peace, Gene was the one who was on the tree with Finny when he jounced the limb just before Finny fell and broke his leg. Gene was in fact the main problem to Finny and his death, Finny could no longer able to compete and train in the Olympics and play sports as good as he was able to. The trail in the Assembly Room in the First Building would have never have taken place leading up to Finny getting upset and storming out the building breaking his leg as he fell of the marble stairs causing his death. Finny knows none of this would have ever have happened if Gene never jounced the limb on the tree.

Character Traits

In A Separate Peace , Gene is portrayed as an intelligent student and a thinker, who considers a situation from all sides before making an actual decision. Gene is also a person who strictly conforms to rules and regulations; he always obeys his teachers, studies hard, never misses a class, and makes good grades. Gene has great work ethic and is very hard working. Although he does not really enjoy sports, for he is not a good athlete. Finny, who has a completely opposite personality from Gene, always acts spontaneously and on blind impulse, never thinking about the rules or the consequences. He is also a poor student, for he does not devote himself to his studies and he does not follow the rules. Finny would rather be playing sports, since he is the best athlete on campus. Although Brinker Hadley is extremely smooth with his words and carefully dressed, Brinker strives to impress people and, when he can, exercise control over them. Brinker is very conservative and he in fact tries to be on top with his academics. Brinker is rather strange he makes long-running jokes with rather sinister undertones, seems very independent and determined, and seems like he's his own person. He is the one who starts enlistment fever on campus, and then stops it dead by chickening out since Gene won't go with him. He's a bit of a paradoxical character, and a kind of foil to the rebellious, free-spirited like Finny.


From the beginning of A Separate Peace, when Gene jounces the limb and causes Finny to fall and shatter his leg , I was in complete awe and angry. I asked how can Gene his best friend and his own roommate , do this to him. I believed that Gene was completely loyal to Finny , and he would never turn evil and back stab Finny like that. Gene didn’t just only break Finnys leg , he destroyed everything Finny lived for. My emotions were extremely high at this moment and from that point on I didn’t see Gene the same. Gene might have cried and was truly sorry but from that point on I believe I saw the true colors of Gene. People all the time become jealous and envy one another. But to push a man out of a tree and purposely cause harm isn’t normal or heathy in his or her state of mind. During the story when Gene visits Finny at his house to tell him the truth about the accident , I could almost feel the guilt down my own throat , I felt sorry for Gene. Although I did feel impressed that Gene matured and acted like a man by going down to Boston to apologize and tell the truth to Finny. Lastly my feelings toward the