"A Separate Peace" by John Knowles.

Essay by PyhittettyPingviiniHigh School, 10th gradeA, September 2003

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Gene Forrester's self realization and self discovery is the main theme of 'A Separate Peace' by John Knowles. This process begins when he pushes his best friend Phineas from a tree and it continues until he visits this tree fifteen years later. Gene must learn to face reality and the future, confront his problems, as well as forgive and accept what he has done. With the jouncing of the limb, Gene realizes his problems and the true person he is inside. He then tries to understand who he really is. When revisiting the tree as an adult, he finally is able to accept and forgives himself. This process is a long and painful one and when it is over, Gene emerges a mature adult.

Gene's journey to self discovery begins when he compares himself to Finny and falls short. Gene constantly compares himself to Finny and it seems as if the only thing that Gene is better at than Finny is his studies.

Gene comes to believe that Finny is trying to wreck his studies. However, when he is in the tree, before the two friends are about to make their "double-jump", Gene sees Finny a 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 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 these feelings come back to him and he sees how terrible he really is. The realization that these feelings are one-sided causes Gene to fall in comparison to Finny, concludes...