A Separate Peace Conflict Analysis

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In A Separate Peace, a coming-of-age novel by John Knowles, Gene creates an imaginary enmity between him and Finny that confuses his identity with an envious subconscious. In the novel, Gene Forrester, the protagonist, battles with internal conflict involving his identity and emotions towards his best friend, Phineas, also known as Finny. Gene develops envy towards his best friend and believes in an enmity between them that does not exist, which leads to external conflict between the two. Throughout the novel, Gene creates the most conflict that separates him from Finny, ultimately leading to Finny’s demise. Examples of these conflicts, both real and imaginary, have been provided by Gene’s thoughts as the narrator. One of the first signs of internal conflict involving Finny can be recognized when Finny calls Gene his best friend, to which Gene does not respond. As Gene states, “Perhaps I was stopped by that level of feeling deeper than thought, which contains the truth” (Knowles 48). The internal conflict has already begun, onsetting many more conflicts to come. Gene does not consider Finny his best friend due to Gene’s latent jealousy towards Finny’s charm and wit. An example of external conflict as a result of Gene’s internal conflict can be derived from the scene where Gene realizes that Finny has no ill will towards him, and that all enmity between them has been a figure of Gene’s imagination. Gene thinks Finny makes an effort to distract him from his studies so Finny

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