Essay, Research Paper

Gene feels increasing hostility toward Finny before his fall from the

tree. In the novel A SEPARATE PEACE by John Knowles, the hostility

between Gene and Finny increase because of the competition inside of them

both to be better then one another. It is about the increasing competition

between Gene and Finny and the hostility it brings. The hostility finally burst

inside Gene and for one instant it takes over. It makes him do something he

will always regret. Gene?s increasing hostility towards Finny finally brings

the down fall of their friendship.

Gene?s first form of hostility toward Finny was the realization that

Finny could get away with anything. First instance was when Finny was

wearing his emblem, the pink button-down shirt, and Mr. Patch-Withers

came up to him. Mr. Patch-Withers ask him about the shirt and Finny told

him the meaning of the shirt. As he explained the substitute headmaster

became more amused about the situation and allowed Finny to get away

with breaking the school dress code. After this instance Gene admitted to

being envious of Finny in this Quote, ?I was beginning to see that Phineas

could get away with anything. I couldn?t help envying him that a little,

which is perfectly normal. There was no harm in envying your best friend

a little.? (18) In this quote Gene is just saying that he envies his best

friend for some thing that he can?t do. This situation is the first of many

forms of hostility towards Finny that brings about the incident in the tree.

At the Patch-Withers party anther sign of Gene?s increasing envy towards

Finny is shown. This happens when Finny again gets away with breaking

the dress code. At the party when discussing the bombing of Europe, Mr.

Patch-Withers discovers that Finny is wearing the school tie with his pink

shirt. With some quick anecdotes about how his shirt is a contribution to

the war effort and also be glad he wore a belt because his pants could fall

down. With these quick anecdotes Finny got away with it, gave Mr.

Patch-Withers a good laugh and enraged Gene?s envy towards Finny.

Gene gave this quote about the instance, ?He (Finny) had gotten away

with everything. I felt a sudden stab of disappointment……..? (21) Gene

really does not know what he is feeling he says, but deep down it is his

growing envy towards Finny and how he is better at getting away with

things. Gene has growing feelings of envy towards his best friend and

how he can get away with things that most other people cannot get away


Gene?s envy increases to resentment of Finny making him do things

he does not want to do. The first resentment is when Finny manipulates

Gene into jumping out of the tree and into the water. The only reason he

resents this is that it was Fine?s fault he was up in the tree. ?I (Gene)

wouldn?t have been on that darn limb except for him. I wouldn?t have

turned around ? and so I lost my balance, if he hadn?t been there.? (25)

Gene blames Finny for him almost falling even though it wasn?t really

Finny?s fault. Gene is so envious of Finny that he does not want Finny to

be one step better then him for saving his life. He twists the truth to make

it seem like it was Finny?s fault for him almost falling. Gene also resents

the fact that Finny made up Blitzball around his physical abilities. Finny

adapted the game to his own physical abilities so he could excel at it. It

made a game of strength, endurance, and speed just what Finny?s abilities

were. ?Right from the start it was clear that no one had ever been better

adapted to sports than Finny was to Blitzball.? (31) Gene is envious of

Finny making up a game that he was going to be naturally good at so, in

Gene?s mind, he can be better then him and make him look bad. His last

resentment is of Finny tring to impress him with his athletic abilities. How

he does this is when they first find out about a school swim record that

has not been broken for four years. Finny broke the record but he does not

want Gene to tell any body about it. He says he just wanted to see if he

could do it. Gene takes it differently, as Finny trying to impress him.

Gene?s envy grows larger making him more hostile. In the end he is so

enraged by his jealousy that he can?t even tell Finny who confided in him

about how he was his best friend and that he was also Finny?s best friend.

The hostility between Gene and Finny had reached the point of no

return and would end in Gene exploding, releasing his rage. This hostility is a

sign of a dramatic turning point in the novel. Gene is very angry over failing

his big trigonometry test which was Finny?s fault for dragging him along to

the beach. Gene now has a belief that Finny is tring to make him fail school

so he can be better then Gene at everything. ?Finny had deliberately set out to

wreck my studies. That explained blitzball, that explained the nightly

meetings of the Super Suicide Society………….Sure he wanted to share

everything with me , especially his D?s in every subject. That way he, the

great athlete, would be way ahead of me. It was all cold trickery, it was all

calculated, it was all enmity.? (45) Gene thinks he was doing this by

cramming his schedule with clubs and sports so that he won?t have time to

study and wreck his school grades. Then Finny can be better than him at

everything. Gene?s misunderstanding of Finny, not understanding that Gene

did need to study and that it did not come naturally, enraged Gene more

making him ready to explode. ?I (Finny) didn?t know you needed to study.?

(50) When Finny said this Gene took it way out of proportion making it

Gene?s final straw. Gene was so enraged that he could not take it that Finny

only meant that brains came natural. With the final straw gone Gene lost it.

His mind was in such confusion that he followed Finny out to the tree. He

climbed up it, and with out any regard for human life, Gene exploded. He

shook the limb making Finny lose his balance and fall to the ground.


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