A Separate Peace.

Essay by ol_smurf October 2005

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Gene Forrester's difficult journey towards maturity and the adult

world is a main focus of the novel, "A Separate Peace", by John Knowles.

Gene's journey begins the moment he pushes Phineas from the tree and

the process continues until he visits the tree fifteen years later.

Throughout this time, Gene must become self-aware, face reality and

the future, confront his problems, as well as forgive and accept the

person that he is. With the jouncing of the limb, Gene realizes his

problems and the true person he is inside. Fifteen years later, when

revisiting the tree, he finally accepts and forgives himself. This

journey is a long and painful one. At the end of this long and winding

road filled with ditches, difficulties and problems, Gene emerges a

mature adult.

Gene jounces the limb and causes Finny's fall and at that moment

becomes aware of his inner-self and learns of his true feelings.


revelation comes to him back in his room before he and Finny leave for

the tree. It surrounds him with the shock of his true self until he

finally reacts by jouncing the limb. Up in the tree, before the two

friends are about to make their "double-jump", Gene sees Finny in this

new light. He realizes that Finny feels no jealousy or hatred towards

him and that Finny is indeed perfect in every way. Gene becomes aware

that only he is the jealous one. He learns of his animosity and that

he really is a "savage underneath". Over a long period of time Gene

had been denying his feelings of hatred towards Finny, saying that it

was normal for him to feel this way. Now all of the feelings come back

to him and he sees how terrible he...