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Character Development Of Gene In A Separate Peace By John Knowles

Decent Essays
Character Development of Gene through Indirect Characterization One can argue that a conflict within one’s self can lead a child from youth to maturity. This is evident in the conflict and resolution that occurs within Gene. In A Separate Peace, John Knowles incorporates indirect characterization to show the shift of Gene from a paranoid to compassionate personality. John Knowles employs Gene’s private thoughts of the competition between him and Finny to emphasize Gene’s paranoia. In the beginning of the novel, Gene enjoys the summer with Finny without any thoughts of the rivalry he later begins to think of. Gene obsesses over winning against Finny and thinks that Finny also feels the same way. Gene begins to believe that Finny…show more content…
Therefore, Gene hits him hard across the face. This is his “first skirmish of a long campaign” that he fights “for Finny” (79). He feels guilty for what he has done and wants to redeem himself by defending Finny’s honor. During the end of the novel, Finny falls down the school’s marble staircase and breaks his leg once again. Gene goes to the infirmary to visit him, but Finny yells at him, telling Gene that he does not want to see him and forces him to leave. In doing so, Finny falls from the bed and it takes Gene “just control enough to stay out of his room” and “let him struggle back into the bed by himself” (185). Gene resisting the urge to help Finny back to his bed exposes Gene’s new compassion. It reveals that Gene now feels like Finny was a genuine friend and that Gene now cares for, contrasting to his feelings for Finny in the summer session. He thinks about what Finny would do for him if he was in his situation, showing that Gene empathizes with Finny. Knowles reveals the other characters’ feelings of Gene to indirectly characterize him as both paranoid and compassionate. Gene is shown as paranoid when he and Leper are talking after the Winter Festival. Leper tells Gene that he is “‘a swell guy, except when the chips were down’” yet “‘always [was] a savage underneath’” (145). Leper knows of Gene’s paranoid tendencies and
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