Seperate Peace Essay, Research Paper
There is always a desire for adventure in a teenager s life. Whether it’s climbing on top of an abandon building or flying down the road at 100 mph, there is always going to be a need for an adrenaline rush that has to be both gratifying and even troublesome. In the case of A Separate Peace, that adventure is in the form of a tree. One is the adventure that the “jump” offer them. Two, is their state of mind, that jumping off of this tree is a way to prove themselves as men. And three, is the escape from authority and the rebellion against their rules. All these factors were reasons why the tree played such a significant part in this story.
The main reason why this tree was important was because it was both a challenge and an adventure. It is very juvenile the way these boys make this jump into a competition. Finny puts pressure on the other boys as he yells, You can’t stand around admiring the view. Jump! (Knowels 9) And when other boys compare the “jumps,” I think that was better than Finny’s (Knowels 9). Finny becomes defensive, replying, All right pal don’t start awarding prizes until you’ve passed the course. The tree is waiting (Knowels 9). As you can see, this need for adventure was another way for them to prove themselves to be better than their peers. This tree was the ultimate challenge for Gene and another plus for Finny’s repitor for his list of daring acts. They had both stood on different grounds when the time came to jump off this tree. Gene was frightened and very careful with the tree. His thoughts showed this fear when he narrated, The tree flooded me with a sensation of alarm all the way to my tingling fingers (Knowels 8). He took his time out of fear and made sure that he wasn’t going to hurt himself. Finny’s approach was a bit more daring. As soon as he was on that branch, he was ready to jump. He never hesitated to make his leap and he never even thought twice about loosing his balance. Either way, this was their adventure. This gave them the ultimate high that nothing else in life could fulfill.
What also tended to take control of these boys’ minds was the unsatisfiable need to prove themselves masculine to the other boys. Today, however, our society has made it exceptable for boys to be more feminine than masculine. Back in the time of this story, it was almost expected that boys were to be men and nothing else. Finny even pressured Gene to play sports. Gene felt obligated to do what Finny said just to prove himself to Finny as a man. This tree was their formula for accomplishing that goal. Although later on they realize that it was nothing more than an accident waiting to happen (when Finny fell and broke his leg), they still thrived for the challenge and excitement that it had to offer.
Soon enough, the adventureistic nature of the tree grew old when there was less excitement in making this jump. By this time they would have started to search for alternatives to fulfill their needs, but because of the rules set for them to stay off the tree, the jump had become even more challenging and exciting. Every time they snuck through the field, climbed up the tree and jumped, they risked the chance of being expelled. But the dare continued… even after injuries.
This rebelish act of dare was similar to what teens do today. Like sneaking out of the house at two in the morning. Or taking the car out for a drive when you know that
your not suppose to. It had offered them everything necessary to fulfill their teenage desires: adventure, self-satisfaction, and rebellion. Without the tree, these boys would have lived many boring years at Devon.