Analysis Of A Separate Peace By John Knowles

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The Valuable Lessons I’ve learned from reading A Separate Peace When my father had learned that I was reading A Separate Peace by John Knowles, he was overjoyed because he had also been given this same book to read when he was a child. At first, I believed that this book had been given too much credit because it is not as action-packed as the books that I normally read. When my father explained the book, I realized that it is purposefully written to resemble the everyday struggle that is being an adolescent. The strong themes, lessons, and ideas expressed in this novel separate it from the run-of-the-mill books I casually read. Some of the recurring themes and ideas include: envy and low self-esteem, accepting your mistakes, and discovering your own identity.
Like most adolescents his age, Gene Forrester begins to struggle with self-esteem and this is highlighted by relationship with Phineas. Finny seems to be the perfect person as he is athletic, carefree, and has a knack for getting out of trouble. At first, Gene enjoys being in the company of Finny because he is daring and shows him a side of life that Gene isn’t used to. But as the story progresses, Gene becomes jealous of Finny and tries to become the smartest student in class to compensate for Finny’s athletic ability. He even becomes suspicious of Finny and accuses him of being jealous and sabotaging his studies. But the truth is that, “He had never been jealous of me for a second. Now I knew that there never was and never could have been any rivalry between us. I was not of the same quality as he"(Knowles 59). The root of his resentment is that he knows that Finny has no ulterior motives which means that Finny is a better person than him. Gene desperately wants to be exactly like Finny but they are entirely different people. His envy takes over when he causes Finny’s fall. His fall breaks his leg and it takes away a crucial part of his humanity. This means that Finny is no longer a threat to Gene’s self-esteem. Even today, low self -esteem and envy are big issues especially in the social media driven world we live in. In which, we can only see the highlights of the lives of others. What I learned from the envy displayed in this story is that being
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