From Innocence to Experience

1156 WordsDec 12, 20105 Pages
From Innocence to Experience Transformations occur all throughout life, from developing pimples as an adolescent, to a midlife crisis that changes everything. In John Knowles’ novel A Separate Peace, there is a transformation in all key elements of the book, from the rivers, to the tree, to the characters. Three specific young men experience change not just because of the transitions through adolescence. These changes also come about because of war, an injury, and guilt. All of these transformations are specifically seen in Leper, Phineas, and Gene. A minor but vital character, Elwin Lepellier, a young man still trying to mature, gets thrown into war and is devoured by its viciousness. Elwin Lepellier or Leper is introduced as a…show more content…
While recuperating at home, Gene stops by his house on his way back to Devon to tell Finny the truth, that it was his fault. However, Finny wouldn’t hear of it and later tells Gene that he wants him to go to the Olympics in his place. Gene feels an overwhelming sense of pride and exclaims “I lost a part of myself to him then, and a soaring sense of freedom revealed that this must have been my purpose from the first: to become a part of Finny” (77). Though no one can see it, Finny is faced with his own personal struggle: the bitterness of being a cripple and attempting to live in a world where sports and enlistment in the army are no longer a possibility. Finny undergoes surgery again after breaking the same leg and dies in the process. One may conclude that his death was brought about more by the lack of will to live than anything else. Whereas Finny is confident and outgoing, Gene Forrester is a quiet, envious, introverted, and lonely young man. His insecurities are especially seen when Finny is around. Gene always chooses to argue or compete with Finny. An example of his competitive personality is seen when Finny says, “You were very good; once I shamed you into it…I am good for you that way. You have a tendency to back away from things otherwise.”(10). Gene responds, “You didn’t shame anybody into anything. I’ve never backed away from anything in my life.”(10). As time progress the rivalry increases and the tension in
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