A Separate Peace

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade August 2001

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A Separate Peace In John Knowles's novel, A Separate Peace, Gene refers to his best friend Finny's voice repeatedly as being "hypnotic." Throughout the book Finny convinces everyone to do what he wants, and this is the reason that Gene refers to his voice like this. On separate occasions it seems that Finny keeps himself from getting punished or he just gets his way. Gene can't help but feel a little jealous of his friend's power over authority. But this is what makes Gene and Finny so close, although he doesn't know that at the time. Finny's "hypnotic" voice is what keeps the entire Summer Session from falling apart, because he convinces all the people around him to come into his world and leave reality behind. Gene refers to Finny's voice as being hypnotic because it seemed that he always knew just what to say to keep him from being punished.

For example, at the headmaster's tea Finny wears a pink shirt and, proclaims that it is an emblem for the Allied bombing of Central Europe, and, because of this, he escapes being punished for his actions. During the tea, Finny talks much about the war, even without much knowledge, and it is discovered that he is also wearing a school tie for a belt. Finny talks his way out of punishment for this as well: "I wore this, you see, because it goes with the shirt and it all ties in together-I didn't mean that to be a pun, I don't think they're very funny, especially in polite company do you?" (p.20). Just when the reader was expecting for Finny to get in trouble it never happened. It was as if he knew how to keep himself out of trouble, but he barely said anything to do...