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A Separate Peace1

A Separate Peace by John Knowles is a coming of age novel in which Gene, the main character, revisits his high school and his traumatic teen years. When Gene was ateen-ager his best friend and roommate Phineas (Finny) was the star athlete of the school. Gene was only a mediocre athlete and is always jealous of Finny. They form a SuperSuicide Society of the Summer Session which includes jumping from a tree into a river asits initiation. Eventually, Finny falls from the tree fracturing his leg. This leads toFinnys death and Gene struggle to find himself. The relationship between these twoboys proves my thesis statement; a friend and an enemy can be one in the same.The characters of Gene and Finny are as opposite as apples and oranges. Finny isa free spirit and Gene enjoys structure. The main problem though, is that Finny hassome kind of hold(9) over Gene. The fact that Gene lets Finny talk him into thingstroubles Gene. Therefore, when they form the Suicide Society and jump out of the tree itbecomes destructive for Gene because he is cutting himself off from the structure thatnormally runs his life. With all the time commitments to Finny and the society Genesgrades plummet. He forms the idea that, Finny had deliberately set out to wreck mystudies.(45). Since academics are so important to Gene he begins to resent Finny and hefeels that he has to get revenge. This anger leads to Gene jouncing Finny out of the tree.The tone of this story changes frequently. Its changes are bases mostly on Genesfeelings toward Finny. Gene often has feeling of resentment and uncertainty about theirfriendship; this creates a negative tone. Finny on the other hand seems to make the moodsomewhat whimsical. For example he beets the school swimming record without everpracticing. He also sneaks away to swim and sleep by the ocean. The tone in this novelis important to the theme because Gene longs to have that same whimsical way that Finnyhas. ...

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