A Separate Peace Theme Essay

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Karissa Arnold Author Alfred Richard Orage once said, “Jealousy is the dragon in paradise; the hell of heaven; and the most bitter of the emotions because associated with the sweetest.” John Knowles’ novel A Separate Peace is about to friends and all the challenges they face at their school Devon during the time of World War II. The theme of A Separate Peace is jealousy and envy are destructive forces. This theme is showed through how Finny is affected, how Gene is affected, and the consequence on their friendship. One way jealousy and envy are destructive forces is shown is through how Finny is affected. When Gene and Finny are about to jump off the tree together, Gene purposely jounces the limb so that he would fall off. Later when he…show more content…
During the phone conversation between Finny and Gene, Finny says, “’Listen pal, if I can’t play sports, then you’re going to play them for me.’”, and I lost part of myself to him then, and a soaring sense of freedom revealed that this must have been my purpose from the start. To become Phineas.” (Knowles 84). After the accident, Gene allows himself to become “a part of Phineas” by allowing Finny to train him to be the athlete Finny can no longer be. Gene uses this as a way to see what it’s like to be Finny, and Finny still want an athletic dream so he needs Gene to get there for him. They are using each other and their friendship to escape reality. Gene goes to visit Finny after the second fall and Finny filled with anger towards him yells out, “You want to break something else in me! Is that why you’re here!” (Knowles 184). Before, Finny kept denying Gene’s confession because he believed that Gene would never do such a thing to destroy their friendship. But now when Finny realizes it’s true, he becomes hurt and the friendship they had before would never be the same. So, if it wasn’t for Gene’s jealousy towards Finny, their friendship would be stronger than ever without the
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