A Separate Peace is the story written by John Knowles, and it tells readers more about Gene’s painful and important growth into being an adult. It’s all about a journey of getting a better understanding of responsibilities and finding his place in the world. At the beginning of this well-known novel, Gene is young and feels self-absorbed and unconcerned by the tree that is going to test his real nature.
By the end of this story, he suffered a lot and inflicted suffering so that he managed to grow into a better understanding of his personal dark motifs. That’s because Gene loses his innocence and gains more experience. Readers should understand that his innocence at the beginning of this story reflects children’s happiness in its conformity. He obeys the necessary rules and rebels from time to time with his sarcasm, but Gene still maintains his comfortable life, which is quite unthreatening and predictable.
The main character is safe in Devon because he is obedient to the rules that masters approve, but his growth is impossible. The main reason is that it can come only from struggles and conflicts so that his conformity serves as an effective shield against challenges. However, Finny breaks through this shield and asks him to experience the world in a more direct way or by breaking rules and creating completely new traditions. Gene and Finny explore the life unlimited by any familiar routines, and freedom exhilarates them. For example, Gene’s first forbidden jump from the tree offers a heightened and new awareness of life. Take into account that Finny’s whims disturb the comfortable routine of proper behaviors, studies, and habits of obedience that win adults’ approval.
Gene is threatened and frightened by freedom so that he prefers to react like a kid with his withdrawn, sullen, and indirect objection. He doesn’t join Finny honestly and wholeheartedly so that he suppresses mixed emotions. The main character chooses to turn his new experience of freedom into some sort of conformity because Gene decides to follow Finny without the risk of losing his friendship. As you can see, his way of thinking is quite childish in its simplicity, but it leads him to resent Finny and causes the violent outbreak that destroys the entire life. Gene starts thinking that Finny wants him to fail, as this is what makes sense to him. Their last conversation allows for Finny’s forgiveness and Gene’s apology.
Only in the friends' last conversation, in the infirmary, can Gene face Finny and freely discuss the fall on Finny's own terms, without rationalization or duplicity. Gene's apology and Finny's forgiveness make it possible for Gene to break out of his self-centered denial. By the end of the novel, Gene has accepted both his own guilt and the gift of Finny's friendship. The experience has helped him to grow into an insightful, responsible, and compassionate adult.
A Separate Peace is the story written by John Knowles, and it tells readers more about Gene’s painful and important growth into being an adult. It’s all about a journey of getting a better understanding of responsibilities and finding his place in the world.