A Separate Peace Composition

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Rivalry between friends is not entirely uncommon, especially between teenagers. In the novel A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, the rivalry between the main character Gene and his best friend Phineas is a common motif. The rivalry between Gene and his best friend Phineas drives Gene to attempt to better himself as a person, but also leads to the destruction of their friendship. As the rivalry between the two friends deepens, Gene makes several attempts at bettering himself in order to match Phineas. Gene begins to work harder in school so that his academics are able to match Phineas’s athletic ability. An instance of Gene’s hard work occurs when Gene expresses his desire to stay in the dorm and study for his French exam rather than go the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session meeting. Phineas then proceeds to say that he is shocked Gene even needs to study, which sparks the thought in Gene’s mind, “It seemed that he had made some kind of parallel between my studies and his sports” (58). This thought only galvanizes Gene to study even harder in order to surpass Phineas. Additionally, Gene makes an effort to do what is morally right in several cases in order to rival Phineas’s natural goodness. For instance, Gene attempts to tell Phineas that is was he who caused Phineas to fall out of the tree when he visits Phineas at his home. He thinks about what Phineas would do in a case where he has harmed a friend, and decides that the morally correct thing to do would be to confess. Another example of Gene’s attempts at doing what is right occurs after Phineas falls down the stairs and Gene goes to visit him in the infirmary. Here, Gene feels obligated to be there for his best friend because this is what he feels Phineas would do for him. Furthermore, as Gene strives to even himself with Phineas, he finds himself wanting to be more and more like Phineas. An

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