In the book A Separate Peace, author John Knowles shows a gradual change from adolescence to adulthood and the transaction from innocence to the devastating reality of WWII and how inner conflict in a minute part of town can be greater than WWII. The protagonists, Gene and Finny, are young souls studying in an all boys prep in a school called Devon in New Hampshire. Although Finny attended both winter and summer session, he changed drastically. His athleticism changes, his confidence level drops and a betrayal breaks his heart.
Once Gene, just to get rid of his jealousy, shook Finny off the tree due to which he broke his leg thus resulting in something bigger. Before the fall, Finny was one of the best and greatest athletes at Devon but when Gene shook Finny out of a tree and 2 thing got shattered. The bone in his leg and his great dreams of the Olympics.
His sports career was doomed. His body was built for sports, "He weighed a hundred and fifty pounds, a galling ten pounds more than I did, which flowed down from his legs to his torso around shoulders to arms and full strong neck in an uninterrupted emphatic unity of strength"(16). He was a super player of blitz-ball a game in which you run toward the Devon river pass the ball though no one is on your team and could play and game at the spur of the second. He beat A. Hopkins Parker's swimming record without proper training or a warning of practice. "Well how did I do? I looked at the watch; he had broken A. Hopkins Parker's record by .7 second" (43). After the fall, the fun transformed into hatred, fear and suspense. Finny had been doomed for life. Sports were now out of the question for him and he was now crippled. He was now incapable of even moving around without crutches. He changed from a winner to a loser and couldn't get back to being a winner. "Sports are now finished for him, after an accident like that off course not" said Dr. Stanpole (63).
Finny was a real confident youngster and people looked up to him as the weather. "You always win at sports" (35). People looked up to him for great play performances and innovation with sports. On the other hand, after the fall he was like a gamin who was not confident and looked up to people for help and assistance. He was now not confident with sports and wanted to live his dream of being in the Olympics through others. "Listen pal, if I cant play sports then you are going to play them for me." (85).
Gene and Finny share an exotic relation of best friends and roommates though after the fall this liking changes into hatred and misunderstanding. On page 17 we see that he calls Gene 'pal' many times. He shares all his secrets with him. He specially calls Gene right after the fall from the tree however after the truth prevails, Finny gets hurt by Genes betrayal. "Ã¢ÂÂ¦ I don't care. I tore myself out of the bench toward him. Phineas-! He shook his head sharply, closing his eyes and then he turnedÃ¢ÂÂ¦I just don't care, never mind" (177). Although he was athletic, at that time he was crippled and broke through the door, he fell down the steps, shattering his tender bone of his leg again. After Dr. Stanpole set his leg, Finny died of the bone marrow blocking his blood stream. "Your friend is dead" said Dr. Stanpole (194)Although Finny attended both winter and summer session, he changed drastically. His athleticism changes, his confidence level drops and a betrayal breaks his heart. Via the characters of Gene and Finny author, John Knowles portrays the insecurity every teen, adolescent and young adult goes through and addresses the consequences of this insecurity.
Work Cited:Knowles, John. A Separate Peace. New YorkScribner, 1959