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Literary analysis of A Separate Peace

Literary analysis of A Separate Peace



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Published by joshua8520
This paper talks about Gene's internal war and three of his main emotions
This paper talks about Gene's internal war and three of his main emotions

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Published by: joshua8520 on Oct 18, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Joshua Barrier Mrs. MurchisonEnglish 9 HonorsOctober 12th, 2008Literary AnalysisWar takes many different shapes in
 A Separate Peace
and it never appears to be wholly agood or bad thing. Gene'scharacteris one of the biggest examples of war in the novel. JohnKnowles' A
Separate Peace
uses the concept of Genes internal war andcollidingemotions tocovey messages about himthat provide more depth into who Gene really is and gives thecharacter more life.Gene's feeling of envy shows up in many instances through out the book. For examplewhen Gene is trying on Phineas' pink shirt, "[he] felt like [a] nobleman [or] some Spanishgrandee. But when [he] looked in the mirror it was no remote aristocrat he had become, nocharacter out of daydreams. [he] was Phineas, Phineas to the life" (Knowles, 62).Gene's jealousytoward Phineas is shown through this quote because he always wanted to be more athletic andgregarious, like Phineas.When Gene's envy toward Phineas hit its climax, he then realized that"[he] was not of the same quality as [Phineas]" (Knowles, 59). For Gene now knew whatPhineas' true feelings were and thatPhineasnever really distracted him and that it was he whodistracted himself .Consequently, realizing this did not satisfy Gene at all, it only made him more frustratedwith Phineas, because Gene knows now that Phineas could never have been "a den oflonely,selfish ambition." (Knowles, 56). As he had once thought Phineas' true feelings were. WhenGene and Phineas wereonthe limb of the tree Gene's frustration over powered hisjudgmentand"[his] knees bent and [he] jounced the limb" (Knowles, 60). Phineas fell off the branch of thetree, he didn't hit the water as they had planned to, he "hit the bank with a
sickening,unnaturalthud" (Knowles, 60).Gene's feeling offrustrationtoward Phineas may havetaken over for that one second, but guilt had truly won that battle.The feeling of guilt Gene felt was very powerful after the fall and he could only think about Phineas, when he heard other people talking he knew "[they] must have talked of other things , but everyone talked of Phineas to [Gene]" (Knowles, 61). Gene's guilt is shown throughthis quote because Phineas and how he fell was all Gene could think about. Gene's guilt drovehim to confess to Phineas that "'[he] jounced the limb. [He] caused it.' . . . '[He] deliberately jounced the limb so Phineas would fall off'" (Knowles, 70). After Gene confesses to Phineas thathe had in fact done it, Phineas doesn't believe him, he couldn't believe him. This only made Genequestion "could it be [Phineas] might even be right? Had [He] really and definitely andknowingly done it to [Phineas] after all?" (Knowles, 70). The fact of the matter was that "[Gene]couldn'tremember, [he] couldn't think" (Knowles, 70). The feeling of guilt and remorse followsGene throughout his life until he could finally forgive himself 15 years after he had left theDevon School.Gene's war will never be won by any one emotion, his emotions will always collide. Just asours collide everyday, When we have to make a tough decision or whentragedybefalls us.Gene's character is easy torelateto in
 A Separate Peace
 because he is very much like most people, he has his faults, hisstrengthsand hisregrets. Gene's actions in the book wereneverdescribedas either good or bad because they helped shape Gene and give him his trueidentity.

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