A Separate Peace: The Nature of Hatred and Peace This essay discribes the fatal extremes of hate and peace, as seen in John Knowles' "Separate Peace"

Essay by neverforgetJunior High, 9th gradeA, April 2003

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In A Separate Peace, hatred and peace influenced many characters. The war functions as a source of hatred, while Finny is a source of peace. Gene injured Finny and realizes that he must change from his jealous and selfish behavior; though Finny's help, his peace slowly transformed Gene into something like Finny. When Leper faced the war by enlisting, the hatred and brutality negatively transforms him into a selfish and uncaring lunatic. There are many dangers behind hatred and peace, and this was one of the reasons Finny died.

Finny is a source of peace that helped Gene come to realize his own hatred. Naturally, Finny contains no hatred and denies hatred. Every time the war was mentioned he would say "there isn't any war. (p. 107)" He would deny all hatred, even if it was the confession of what really happened to his leg. His goal was not to achieve rivalry but to live and enjoy peace.

When Gene realized the peacefulness about Finny, he felt the guilty urge that he must change. Through the lessons he had with Finny, he felt the joy peacefulness. This time was during the training session during the Olympics when he felt the true exertion of energy: "You found your rhythm, didn't you, that third time around... You've been pretty lazy all along, haven't you? (p. 112)" By the end of the novel, he acquired the natural peace of Finny, and also denies the war: "All of them, except of Phineas, constructed at infinite cost to themselves these Maginot Lines against this enemy they thought they saw across the frontier. (p. 196)"

Although peace can positively influence a person, hatred can destroy and negatively influence a person. Gene was filled with hatred before he transformed; he imagined rivalries and assumed enmity.