A Separate Peace, by John Knowles

1098 Words5 Pages
Throughout human history, war has stood as a universal reaction to various conflicts between diverse peoples. War can embed itself into a culture over generations of fighting. It can generate cultures that base themselves around the concept of war, creating hostile and bellicose peoples. At times, war may not even have grounds, but the aggressive nature of the people often cause it to proceed without justification. These wars often proceed due to perceptions conceived within the depths of peoples’ imaginations. Irrational assumptions, fears of the unknown, and the development of nonexistent threats allow the justification of these wars within the individuals. In A Separate Peace, wars such as these are seen between the characters and…show more content…
Gene perceives Phineas’ insistence of Gene’s participation in blitzball and the Super Suicide Society is to make him “share [in] all his diversions” and thus, control how Gene spends his time (53). However, Phineas contradicts Gene’s idea and clarifies Gene’s conflict as a misinterpretation when he states, “I didn’t know you needed to study… I just thought it came to you” (58). Here, Phineas reveals his own perception in juxtaposition to Gene’s. Phineas’ sincere statement negates Gene’s postulation about the intentions of Phineas, thus revealing Gene’s misunderstanding. Gene’s weak character and inability to stand up for himself causes him to act as a codependent for Phineas, allowing Finny to hide from the reality of war. Also, Phineas’ actions of hiding from the war provoke Gene’s perception that Phineas is actually at war with him. When Gene goes with Finny to watch Leper jump from the tree, Gene evinces his own weakness (59). Gene gives into Phineas’ creation of the Super Suicide Society, which serves as one of the “diversions” he uses to distract himself from the war (53). Finny assigns Gene a key role in the Super Suicide Society, which makes it essential that he go to watch Leper’s jump. Gene’s inability to stand up for himself when he needs to study allows Finny to continue to distract himself from the war, which in turn makes Gene believe that Phineas is doing this to pull him from his studies. Gene is

More about A Separate Peace, by John Knowles

Open Document