The Characters Of Genenys In A Separate Peace By John Knowles

Decent Essays
The word “naive” is an adjective used to describe someone “deficient in worldly wisdom or informed judgment.” The word “daring” is an adjective used to describe someone that is “venturesomely bold in action or thought.” What is the connection between these two characteristics? They both describe the character Phineas, the central character of A Separate Peace. In A Separate Peace, John Knowles employs dialogue and actions to characterize Phineas as a naive and daring static character.
John Knowles implies Phineas is naive through the implementation of dialogue. Phineas confesses to Gene that “[he] hope[s] [Gene is] having a pretty good time here… you can’t come by yourself, and at this teenage-period in life the proper person is your best pal.” (48). The boys live in a masculine society where they are expected to be strong. To expose one’s feelings to someone else is often considered “social suicide.” Gene takes advantage of Phineas’ naivetivé by not responding to his declaration of friendship. Phineas also asserted that “when you really love something, then it loves you back, in whatever way it has to love” (111). Phineas’ philosophy is centered around a world of youth of peace; he always tries to find the best in everyone. This naive attitude contrasts with the cruel nature of the world, where wars and competitions are common occurrences. At Gene’s trial for Phineas’ fall, Phineas asks Gene if “[he] was down at the bottom” in a concerned, friendly tone. Phineas’ fear of
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