Coming Of Age

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade April 2001

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COMING OF AGE A Separate Peace and Huckleberry Finn come from an immature start and develop and come of age. During the entirety of both novels, all characters learn and become mature. Before they can grow that had to be subjected to hardships and difficulties in order to be delivered to the end of their journey. Yet, they are not capable of seeing where they are going or how they will get there. So, it is impossible to see what they have accomplished.

In a Separate Peace Gene is an intellectual who misunderstood his friends motives and decides to terminate him. Gene hurts his friend permanently and he will remember the effect on his friend. This effect in reality causes him to endure more suffering than Finny. During the entire novel all characters realize how unknowledgeable and inexperienced they really are. Gene is the first to acknowledge this. Gene perceives this when he thinks that Finny would (jokingly) kill himself out of jealous envy over the fact that Gene could be head of the class.

Gene does not take this jokingly but Gene believed him. "The joking manner was a screen; I believed him" Gene thought as Finny tried to make Gene stop worrying about his schoolwork. Genes growing up occurred premature because it unfortunately becomes a war that consumes and poisons him. The war inside him causes traumatic circumstances to arise, such as the accident including Finny. In the commencement of the novel Gene recalls a time when he was younger and he could make himself escape from the great fear that he lived in. "A little fog hung over the river, so that as I neared it I felt myself becoming isolated from everything except the river and the trees beside it" The forced Gene to become something he cared not to be, and Gene unfortunately grows up to soon.

Finny never faced reality, when it came to a war, Finny announced there was not a war, but in fact, it was a joke inspired by some old guys who were laughing because they had fooled the entire world. Finny talked about the war as non-existent and he and Gene voiced that it was impossible and there could not be a war. Gene said these words out of sympathy to please Finny, but subconsciously they both knew the truth, but denied it because it was reality. But in the end Finny says, "I wish to God there was not a war." This was his way of coming of age, Finny reveals to Gene, "I was going to keep on saying, (there was no war) until two seconds after I got a letter from Ottaua or ChangKing or someplace saying, 'Yes you can enlist with us." Finny was a kid at heart who was not selfish like Gene, but it is also difficult to see how he advances because of the obstacle he unfortunately has to endure.

Leper was a sensitive boy going into the war who is most concerned with beaver dams and butterflies. He left the war as a "Psycho", concerned and self-centered. This psychotic behavior was a terrible way to turn. Leper was the one who made Gene and Finny face the hard truth, causing them not to like Leper because he also represented . When Leper faced the war he was battling himself. As we notice, this occurred to Gene, Finny, and Leper.

In the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck is a sympathetic creature who begins as the son of the town drunkard, who lives with Widow Douglas and Miss Watson. He does not understand their morals, until later during the novel that he realizes that if Miss Watson was not praying for him he might go hungry. Huck grows close to Jim at Jackson's Island but while he lived in St. Petersburg he does not appreciate or acknowledge Jim. Huck knows it is illegal and immoral, during this era. Yet, he is not concerned. Huck becomes more and more caring; this is ironic because of his home life. No one would have guessed how devoted and realistic he has become. Those who live in St. Petersburg think that Huck is . He did die, not physically, but the life that he knew at one point, has come to an end. When Huck struggles with his conscious about returning Jim to Miss Watson, Huck tears up the letter that he has written to Miss Watson, decides that he is willing to "go to hell" for Jim and is determined to free him. Huck gradually comes of age but it is difficult to distinguish because it is so gradual that one might not be able to depict how Huck advances.

Jim is incredibly superstitious. Jim fears various things and really has never trusted a white man in his life. He learns that he must trust Huck for his . Even though Huck struggles with the fact that he is letting Miss Watson down by hiding Jim. During the duration of there expedition a strong love grew between both Jim and Huck. Their is based on each other. Jim had dedication and love for Huck and later even has a love for Tom Sawyer. Jim stops the suffering of Huck by not allowing him to see his father lying in the boat. Jim was willing to sacrifice himself for others and during the novel his attributes, such as taking over the duties of Huck as they float down the river, causes Huck to see and love Jim as he is really worth. Jim develops into a free person. So what if he was set free at the conclusion of the novel, he learned to be his own self and if he would have had to return to his old way of life it would have been a struggle for everyone. Jim now understands loyalty towards Huck and Tom and he will always be loyal to them and as for Huck and Tom they would be loyal to Jim as well. Jim's sense of love and humanity, his desire to help others, and his goodness are the quality's that force Huck to "go to hell" for Jim.

Tom Sawyer is Huck's best friend even though Huck is far maturer than Tom and as they grow farther away from each other we can grasp how different they really are. Tom matures and comes of age by noticing how Huck perceives and acts towards Jim. Tom knows that Jim was free all along and the entire escape that Tom and Huck planned for Jim was nothing but a game for Tom. He reveals that Jim has been free all the time. This is only due to the fact that their scheme to free Jim, did not work.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn occur under much happier circumstances, than a Separate Peace because at the completion of the story Huck does not have to worry about his father, Jim is free, and they have all grown closer together. A Separate Peace is a novel that defines selfishness and rage that included a war from within. Both novels come of age in their own individual way.