A Separate Peace, by John Knowles

1079 Words Jul 11th, 2018 5 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. So much so that there exists cultures that base themselves around the idea 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. In A Separate Peace, wars such as these are seen between the characters and within the characters of Gene and Phineas. These wars can be thought of as figments of imagination, founded on irrational assumptions, fears of the unknown, and nonexistent threats. Regardless of their origin, the enemy is always daunting. …show more content…
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). Phineas reveals his own perception in juxtaposition to Gene’s. Phineas’ sincere statement puts to rest Gene’s postulation about the intentions of Phineas. 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 roll 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 also pulled away from studying when Phineas proposes that they should “go to the beach” (45). Gene accepts this proposal