The Flames Of Character Development In A Separate Peace By John Knowles

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The Flames of Character Development
Character development is like a fire. Sometimes it is a sudden combustion, other times a crackling that slowly builds up. In A Separate Peace, the main character, Gene, struggles with identity and admitting his emotions. His aloofness to others causes him to be rather cold and distant, especially to Finny who forces his friendship on Gene. Gene’s inner turmoil twists his reality into a wicked fantasy that Finny is secretly trying to sabotage gene. As a way of defending himself, Gene shakes a tree, causing Finny to fall out of it and break his leg. While this puts Gene on a path of malice and devilment, the flames of his maturation and relationship with Finny burn down his old habits and meld him into a new person. In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, Gene undergoes a dramatic change when he admits that he made Finny fall out of the tree which teaches him that coming to terms with one’s emotions is the strongest way to preserve a relationship.
For any fire of character change to start, a spark is needed; Gene’s spark is when he confesses to Finny in the hospital. When Gene sees Finny at the hospital, he is inspired to describe the feeling that drives him to jounce the limb: “‘It was just some ignorance inside me, some crazy thing inside me, something blind, that’s all it was.’ He was nodding his head, ‘I believe you’” (191). Gene’s toxic way of dealing with his feelings causes him to internalize any negative emotions. His coping mechanism

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