Character Relationships in "A Separate Peace" by John Knowles

Essay by apbsHigh School, 10th gradeA+, February 2007

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In the book, A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, Gene and Finny have a complicated friendship. They are friends, but there are other feelings and desires convoluting the simplicity of friendship. Gene is jealous and angry at Finny at times, but he is also amazed by Finny's character while Finny thought of Gene as his best friend and admired him. Gene has many conflicting emotions about Finny while Finny is absolutely sure in himself; however, Gene is more emotionally mature in the respect of their reactions to the fall.

Gene has many mixed emotions like jealousy, anger, and admiration. His qualities and the type of person he is might fuel these emotions. Gene likes to follow the rules and is hesitant to break them even when Finny urges him to. He is also studious and gets almost straight A's and he is ambitious of his intelligence, because he is aiming for valedictorian status.

Gene is poised on the threshold of great accomplishment through his intelligence and work ethic in the field of academics. Finny had what it took to be a great athlete. Rivalry exists as naturally at Devon School as a fish does in the ocean. Gene's academic achievements have the potential to clash with Finny's athletic achievements. Gene is jealous of Finny's natural ability at sports, his awards, and his modesty of these achievements. He says Finny is, "too good to be true" (40). Not only does Gene admire Finny's modesty, he admires his sincerity as shown when Finny admits Gene is his best friend because Gene said, "It was a courageous thing to say. Exposing a sincere emotion nakedly that at the Devon School was the next thing to suicide" (40). Gene also feels anger at times, because he thought Finny was trying to share his...