A Separate Peace Character Analysis Essay

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Francesca Garcia Mrs. Welsh 6th Period 21 September 2012 The Weaknesses of Knowles’ Two Main Characters Just as the great Mark Twain said,” we all live in the protection of certain cowardice which we call our principles.” In A Separate Peace, young boys lives are recorded at Devon Prep School. Living in a protected environment has its perks, especially with a war going on. Yet the young men were weak; they were feeble in character, handicapped in the skills of handling a real world situation. Incapable of controlling their over the top emotions or scenarios that would make anyone drop to their knees and weep. Both of the main characters, Gene and Phineas, are equally weak, but only because of what they were exposed to or…show more content…
Gene was always uptight, usually taking charge on the educational parts, as he stated,” If I need to study then so do you.”(Knowles Pg. 58) It helped as he went on to become the top of his class, and popular among the boys who did care about academics. Gene took the roll as the responsible one, at the morning on the beach he hurried Phineas to leave for a critical test they had that day. (Knowles Pg.51) Gene was portrayed as the underdog in A Separate Peace, even if he was the main character. He was very unpopular, clinging close to Phineas, who was Gene’s only source of social interaction. When he was not with Phineas he would feel as if,” I would have lost face with Phineas, and that would have been unthinkable.”(Knowles Pg. 34) Gene did everything he could to stay in favor with Phineas, even by taking part in’ The Suicide Society’ (Knowles. 56-57), when he longed to be studying for examinations. Striving to be the best academically and to be so much like an adult, pressured Gene into thinking he had to be, ”serious sometime, about something. If your really good at something, I mean if there’s nobody, or hardly anybody, who’s as good as you are, then you’ve got to be serious about that.”(Knowles Pg. 58) Even though he was great already, Gene began making fantasy rivalries to cope with what he wasn’t good at, the physical aspects of life. In his mind, he and Phineas ”were even after all even in enmity.”(Knowles Pg. 54). Gene contemplated all the time whether his friendship with Phineas was real are not, and stating in the end,” Now I knew that there never was and never could have been any rivalry between us. I was not of the same quality as he.”(Knowles Pg.59). Gene knew he could never compare to Phineas, never was he evenly matched with him. Unless he eliminated Phineas, and only seconds after he stated no jealousy

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