A Separate Peace: Conflicts

06/05/2010 14:00:00

In John Knowles’ A Separate Peace, nearly every character at the Devon School in New Hampshire struggles. The struggles are mainly internal. Main character Gene fights against his jealousy of Finny, his best friend; Finny denies the ongoing WWII because of his lack of ability to participate in it; and Leper’s powerlessness to meet his fears of the war head-on. These conflicts are predominantly man vs. self. During the course of the book, the author focuses on the uglier side of human nature and the complexity of the characters’ emotions—envy, fear, and helplessness. Gene is the main character of the book and also one of the most conflicted ones. His main flaw is his impulsiveness, which leads him to push Finny from a tree and permanently injure him. However, he is also a selfish character in many ways. After hurting Finny, Gene feels the need to admit that it was his fault Finny’s leg was broken to clear his conscience. When he tries to tell Finny, Finny violently rejects the idea. Gene must put Finny’s needs before his own and overcome his focus on himself by not telling Finny of his guilt until Finny is ready: “It struck me then that I was injuring him again. It occurred to me that this could be an even deeper injury than what I had done before…”

” Finny goes to great lengths throughout the book to justify Gene’s actions toward him. until the eventual point when he can no longer do so.Finny is unable to accept Gene’s betrayal because he refuses to recognize Gene as anything other than his best friend.Don’t be a sap. Thus. the war no longer exists. there isn’t any war. His knack of denying things that don’t fit into his reality re-emerges on the realization that he can no longer be a part of the war because of his injury. Naturally I was completely wrong. I have to admit I had just a second when I wondered. “…I did have just a trace of doubt.” . “Do you really think that the United States of America is in a state of war with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan?. As Finny tells him after Gene attempts to confess. Gene. As he says to Gene.. I’m sorry about that.. that was because you talked so crazy here.

The main conflicts of A Separate Peace are confined within the characters themselves. as Elwin Lepellier. and this drives him insane. the training for it is an ordeal that he is not prepared for. and only the things and the people who’ve been evolving the right way survive. self theme that runs throughout the novel is an honest portrayal of the internal conflicts that often lie within humans. demonstrates. Leper deserts. too. however. Unable to keep up with the rigors of army life.Yet injuries don’t necessarily have to be physical to keep a person out of the war. Leper’s view of World War Two: “It’s like a test. Leper’s conflict is completely within his mind—he cannot bear the thought of failing the test of WWII. instead choosing to escape from them. The jealousy of one best friend towards another. . the denial of “inconvenient” reality.” This view drives him to enlist in the ski troops. nicknamed Leper. They can be mental. and helplessness in the face of unrealized fears all play their role. isn’t it. The man vs. He is incapable of meeting his fears of combat and “the enemy” head-on.

06/05/2010 14:00:00 .

06/05/2010 14:00:00 ← .

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