A Separate Peace "Nothing endures, not a tree, not love, not even a death by violence." This phrase simply defines the separate peace that Gene developed. The events that he encountered did not endure because he did not allow them to. Each of these events affected his development and enabled him to discover his separate peace.
Gene was a very jealous person. This peace caused him to constantly question each and every action of Finny's. Gene was clearly jealous of Finny and thought that he had the same feeling of jealousy toward him. This became very evident when Gene once said to himself, "You did hate him for breaking that school swimming record, but so what? He hated you for getting an A in every course but one last term." Gene unexpectedly acted on his jealousy when he jounced the limb of the tree and caused Finny to fall to the ground below.
His jealousy began to take control and caused him to commit a violent act that would result in guilt and anguish.
When Finny had returned to Devon after recovering from the accident, he began to influence Gene to do things that he would not be able to do anymore because of his injury. Although Gene had no interest in the things that Finny wanted him to accomplish, he agreed to do them because he felt bad for what he had done. Finny told Gene that there was no war and when Gene asked who was pulling this stunt Finny told him, " The fat old men who don't want us crowning them out of their jobs. They've made it all up." Gene did not believe this at all but once again let Finny believe in this. Finny at one point told Gene, " Leave your fantasy life out of this. We're grooming you for the Olympics, pal, in 1944." This reveals a very weak side of Gene that is easily influenced by others despite his discomfort.
When Gene grew older, he took his past experiences and his friends to learn from then and reach peace within himself. Friends such as Lepper, Brinker, and quakenbush either ran away or avoided their problems completely. Finny denied his problems and in result caused his death. Knowing and keeping these experiences in mind he was able to put his life perspective and reach his separate peace. The most important thing that he did was realized that he was his own enemy, " I was on active duty all my time at school, I killed my enemy there." This passage explains how he was able to kill the peace of himself that was his enemy, and gain peace within himself, a separate peace that would not have been able to be reach if it wasn't for the past experiences that he had encountered.
Gene was able to reach his separate peace because he was able to leave his past in the past. He discovered how to deal with his problems and put them behind him. He took the events he encountered and grew into a peaceful person. Most importantly he understood that nothing endures unless you allow it to. It may have been a struggle, but it made him a better more peaceful person in the long run.