. . This companionship is a primary example of any real-life friendship of the common person. While some characters embrace their evolution through the loss of innocence, others are at war with themselves to maintain their naïveté. Finny is Gene's foil only to the extent that he is a rebel; again, the issue of rebelliousness vs.
. Though they wanted to be or to seem older and more knowledgeable when they were young, in retrospect, their freshness was a rare thing, and too soon spoilt. . . . Brinker does not use force but threatens to do so.
. . The subject of the day is the bombing of Central Europe, which the American forces had just begun; Finny does most of the talking but, completely clueless about the war as he is, his views on the situation aren't exactly realistic. Phineas, being the daredevil, goes firstand Gene is the only one from the small party that he is able to persuade to follow him. .
. Gene and Finny, despite being opposites in personality, are close friends: Gene's quiet, introverted, intellectual personality is a character foil for Finny's extroverted, carefree athleticism. As this novel continues, Gene ends up hurting his friend because of his jealousy. In A Separate Peace, wars such as these are seen between the characters and within the characters of Gene and Phineas. In A Separate Peace Gene, in my opinion, Gene is not a good friend.
A Separate Peace is set in fictional Devon, New England at the Devon school. Finny is an irregularity at Devon. The boys might be protected from the war, but they are not protected from each other. Phineas means his pink shirt as a symbol of patriotism, and heartening victory; what the shirt really symbolizes, at least from Gene's perspective, is Finny's willingness to be different, and how little he cared about what people thought about this. The novel is affected by a number of changes, however the largest and most significant change is the change in seasons.
Upon his return to Devon, Gene is reminded of the accident that occurred on the tree. The war also takes a great toll on all of the characters emotionally, especially Leper, who enlists and goes mad while in the army. Gene says that Finny doesn't care about getting away with things, so much as wheedling a friendly and warm reaction out of his teachers and superiors after his transgressions of school rules. . In spite of Gene's reservations about his friend, he is able to tell of his friend's thoughts and intentions merely from the tone of Finny's voice. . The school is completely based on Phillips Exeter Academy, a preparatory school that author John Knowles attended.
Notice how the war slowly creeps into the academy, starting with recruiters and ending with troops in Chapter Thirteen? The book then ends with a return to the recent past. You can use these three factors to see how good of a friend a person can be, and determine there true character. To Gene and Finny, the war is remote and hard to accept; they have seen newsreels from the front and films of bombs dropping, but cannot accept that such a thing could be happening while they are having a great time at their comfortable, sunny little school. In Lord of the Flies, Jack becomes obsessed with hunting pigs. Devon's initial isolation from the rest of the world is as important as its peaceful atmosphere. From this point, the novel follows Gene's description of the time from the summer of 1942 to the summer of 1943. The incident of the shirt shows Finny to have little self-consciousness about him, and a great deal of confidence in himself; when he wears the pink shirt, he exemplifies this, not so much as blinking when the headmaster approaches him to ask about the oddly colored shirt.
Stanpole finds him in the hall outside Finny's room and tells him that Finny is dead. . If so in this case, both characters are totally unaware of it. For example, he and three others come to look at a tree, which is considered among the Upper Middler students at Devon an impossibility. Nonconformists are shunned by society and as a result have difficulty retaining their nonconformist position. .
In A Separate Peace by John Knowels, the value of dealing with your feelings and dealing with your enemies is shown by Gene Forester, a student in Devon during World War 2 dealing with few human enemies, but his emotions create a nemesis far greater than any human enemy. In the Butt Room, where they go to smoke, Brinker continues to joke in front of the other smoking students. . At a distance, Gene follows Finny to the infirmary, hoping to talk with him alone. This brings up a very pertinent question; is Finny really the superman athlete that Gene makes him out to be, or is his characterization of Finny altered by his feelings toward Finny? John Knowles was able to capture the subtle goal and essence of his novel by titling it A Separate Peace.
Gene realizes that Finny, despite being very free-thinking, abides by his own set of rules and regulations; he also abhors badminton, despite his love for almost all other kinds of sports. Because of how open the world is, humans are exposed to events outside of their own surroundings so much that one is bound to become influenced by these events and even begin to revolve their own thinking around the main outside influence. . Gene, however much he tries, cannot duplicate this balance that is inherent in Finny's nature, and his story is an attempt to explore and revisit this interesting person who was nearly immune to many of the issues that still trouble Gene. Society puts pressure on its members to conform to its standards.