Rivalry's Nature Book: "A Separate Piece" by John Knowles

Essay by Drewdog2323High School, 10th gradeA, April 2004

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The book A Separate Piece by John Knowles revolves around the theme of rivalry, which naturally occurs between humans as a result of human nature. With this rivalry occurring naturally between humans, it is inevitable that any relationship is vulnerable to destruction due to this rivalry within all humans. Things that may occur from rivalry are envy, resentfulness, and worst of all, pain as a result.

When a close bond is shared between two people, each person cares about the other. But because of that, the bond is more vulnerable to being ruined because any form of mistrust or betrayal is more likely to be taken more seriously than in an informal relationship where everything is naturally taken in less personally. An example would be when Finny finally discovers and accepts the truth that Gene purposefully caused his accident on the tree. As Finny's emotions are expressed, "The words shock Phineas into awareness.

He whirled as though being attacked from behind. 'You get the rest of the facts, Brinker!' he cried. I had never seen Finny crying, 'you collect every f--ing fact there is in the world!'" (169) Demonstrated in this passage, Finny is deeply hurt after realizing all these years that Gene intentionally cause his fall from the tree. The fact that their relationship is so close and are very close friends, also causes Finny to be hurt deep down inside as he feels his best friend had betrayed him. As exemplified from the passage, "He whirled as though being attacked from behind," this summarizes how he feels, as if he though he was "backstabbed."

Sometimes in relationships that close, one does not know he or she is doing something to make the other person upset or envious, even when he or she doesn't mean to cause...