A Separate Peace Essay

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The Danger of the Human Mind: Creating Inner Enemies The phrase “a separate peace” is widely known as “abandoning your ally and making peace with the enemy.” The book A Separate Peace by John Knowles takes place at a boys’ boarding school, known as Devon, during the summer of 1943. As the story progresses, the war inevitably affects Gene and his classmates. Although the WWII was raging on during their summer, the real war occurs at school, within the boys themselves as the war creeps onto them furthermore. Knowles portrays the idea that ignorance and envy creates war. Gene’s jealousy and ignorance causes a war within himself to create the illusion that his enemy is Finny. He states, “I found it. I found a single sustaining thought. The thought was, You and Phineas are even already. You are even in enmity. You are both coldly driving ahead for yourselves alone. . . . I felt better.” ( 45). From then on, Gene starts to become aware of his inferiority towards Finny many varieties. His resentment towards Finny strengthens as he recollects Finny’s achievements in athleticism, significant personality, and his wits that enable him to get away with anything he desires. The statement that he “felt better” knowing that Finny saw him as a rival, suggests that his confidence increased in having such a capable person worry about him as competition. Soon afterwards, he continues with, “Then, a second realization broke as clearly and bleakly as dawn at the beach. Finny had deliberately set out to wreck my studies.” ( 45). His jealousy towards his best friend becomes so strong, that he projects the fault onto Finny. In order for him to see himself as an equal compared to Finny, he has to drag Finny Che 2 down onto his level of mentality. His motivation to improve comes from the desire beat Finny, who he believes is “out to wreck” his studies, when Finny truly isn’t. Gene’s

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