Separate Peace: Relationship Between Phineas And Gene.

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade January 2002

download word file, 2 pages 0.0

Downloaded 606 times

A surrealistic environment, which the boys of Devon lived in, reflected Gene and Finny's abstract and hopeless "friendship".

By approaching the piece of writing with an almost surgical technique, disserting its parts, eliminating the unneeded, and adding the ideas, that were needed to create an effective and interpretive novel, showed a true talent of novelist John Knowles. His thought of putting the atmosphere in the major place, and manipulating its weather, fauna, and fate of characters, explains its exact role in their lives.

The tree, which represents the whole tone of the novel, which becomes of the great importance during the rising action of the plot, draws us closer to reality and presents the unthinkable. The nightly jump out of the tree becomes a source of smoldering resentment for Gene. He fears the jump, but fears losing Finny's respect even more, which leads to tension that he tries to suppress.

This tension is evident when Finny stops Gene from falling out of the tree, practically saving his life, even though Gene feels no great gratitude toward that act. Finny is strongly individualistic and prizes the freedom to live by his own rules. Gene allows Finny to create rules for him. The idea of simply refusing to jump out of the tree never occurs to Gene, even though complying goes against his instincts.

Unlike Gene and just about every other student at Devon, Finny does not see himself as competing against his classmates in everything he does. When Finny courageously puts forth a show of bare emotion in telling Gene he is his best friend, Gene knows he should return the sentiment, but he (like most Devon students) is not used to such emotional honesty and feels somewhat frightened by it. Something even deeper than the constraints of conventionality holds him back from replying to Finny. In retrospect, Gene decides that perhaps he did not reply because deep down, he truly did not feel towards Finny what Finny felt towards him. Gene places the truth on a level of emotion deeper than thought. Gene's envy climaxes and interprets Finny's increased studying as an attempt to even things out in the rivalry and increases his own efforts to make sure he stays ahead of Finny in the system of comparison he has devised. Gene deplores forgetting the rivalry for even a moment and letting himself fall periodically into affection for Finny again. He guards against the seductive beauty of the summer and actively tries not to be affected by the joyfulness and promise of the days because he knows there is hate around him, and he wants to dwell on that alone.

Everything finishes the way a nature dictated: the days became rainy, and gray. Finny's life started to move towards its death, the carnival, which pictured the important symbolic point of passage for the Olympian spirit its flame of Life from Phineas to Gene, marked a climax of the novel.

A surrealistic environment, which the boys of Devon lived in, reflected Gene and Finny's abstract and hopeless "friendship". The death of Phineas symbolized ""¦a Gene's freedom from fear not by hiding from war and the ambiguities of the human heart, not by building barriers between youth and age, but by accepting the inevitability of change and loss."