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A Separate Peace

3 Pages 780 Words

A Separate Peace - Gene's Journey

Gene Forrester's difficult journey towards maturity and the adult
world is a main focus of the novel, A Separate Peace, by John Knowles.
Gene's journey begins the moment he pushes Phineas from the tree and
the process continues until he visits the tree fifteen years later.
Throughout this time, Gene must become self-aware, face reality and
the future, confront his problems, as well as forgive and accept the
person that he is. With the jouncing of the limb, Gene realizes his
problems and the true person he is inside. Fifteen years later, when
revisiting the tree, he finally accepts and forgives himself. This
journey is a long and painful one. At the end of this long and winding
road filled with ditches, difficulties and problems, Gene emerges a
mature adult.

Gene jounces the limb and causes Finny's fall and at that moment
becomes aware of his inner-self and learns of his true feelings. This
revelation comes to him back in his room before he and Finny leave for
the tree. It surrounds him with the shock of his true self until he
finally reacts by jouncing the limb. Up in the tree, before the two
friends are about to make their "double-jump", Gene sees Finny in this
new light. He realizes that Finny feels no jealousy or hatred towards
him and that Finny is indeed perfect in every way. Gene becomes aware
that only he is the jealous one. He learns of his animosity and that
he really is a "savage underneath". Over a long period of time Gene
had been denying his feelings of hatred towards Finny, saying that it
was normal for him to feel this way. Now all of the feelings come back
to him and he sees how terrible he really is. The realization that
these feelings are one-sided causes Gene to to fall dramatically in
comparison to Finny (he paints himself black for these feelings and
because Finny doesn't share them, he puts a halo around Finny's head)...

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