Separate Peace By John Knowels Dealing with enemies has been a problem ever since the beginning of time. In A Separate Peace by John Knowels, the value of dealing with your feelings and dealing with your enemies is shown by Gene Forester, a student in Devon during World War 2 dealing with few human enemies, but his emotions create a nemesis far greater than any human enemy. “I never killed anybody,” Gene had commented later in his adulthood, “And I never developed an intense level of hatred for the enemy. Because my war ended before I ever put on a uniform; I was on active duty all my time at Devon; I killed my enemy there.” Now about the enemies that Gene had put into his own life. Gene had a best friend, his name was Finny, they were roommates and did many activities together. Finny was never the source, but the core of most of Gene’s feelings, both good and bad.
First, one of the biggest problems that Gene had, that is jealousy. Gene was jealous of Finny’s confidency, openness, modesty, superb athletic abilities, his natural leadership skills, his ability to deal with stress easily, his care free attitude, his people skills and, of course, his good looks. Early in the story Finny demonstrated his openness by when asked for his height, he said 5 foot, 8½ inches, while Gene replies 5 foot, 9 inches. Finny pointed out that they were the same height and you shouldn’t be ashamed to tell anybody your real height. Later that day, they skip dinner to go swimming in the river, by Finny’s choice, and are asked where they were on return.
Finny quickly replied that they were swimming in the river, something that is forbidden, right down to the last detail, and they got away with it. Gene said that the rules are very bent during the summer session, but it was actually Finny’s people skills that had kept them out of trouble. Finny was very bold, as Gene many a time wished he was, on one occasion Finny wore a bright pink shirt “symbolizing the first U.S. bombing in Europe. Gene called him a “faerie” but really envied him. Later Finny wore the school tie as a belt and when questioned he claimed that it represented “Devon in the war.” Gene was hopeingly awaiting a scolding for Finny, but again, he got in no trouble.
Another day the two were walking and came across a plaque near the pool claiming that A. Hopkins Parker held the record for swimming across the pool the fastest, Finny took one look at and thought he could beat it, so without any practice at all he plunged into the pool, Gene timed him and he beat it, just like that. Gene wanted to get an official scorekeeper so Finny could get a plaque but Finny said “no, in my head I know that I did it, that’s all that matters,” thus demonstrating that Finny is very modest and secure. The next day Gene and Finny went to the beach, which wasn’t allowed. This was done at Finny’s request, Gene was going to study for a test, but he felt that he can’t say no to Finny so hey went.
At the beach Gene noticed a lot of people looking at them, he knew they were looking at Finny because of his well built body and his golden tan but Finny said that they were looking at Gene. Before they return, Finny calls Gene his “best pal” and Gene wanted to reply, but he wasn’t sure about it himself and he also has a hard time expressing his true feelings. That was his first enemy, now the next, anger. Gene’s anger isn’t too bad alone but when jealousy and anger are lurking in the same domain, they prove to be a deadly combination. Gene was angry about such things as Finny’s ability not to get in trouble, and Gene’s unwillingness to say “no” to Finny, but the real war started when he got the idea that because Finny has low grades, he wanted to lower Gene’s grades as well so he will better than Gene. Gene believed that Finny was trying to wreak his studies with games, an organization they had formed-the Secret Suicide Society, going to the beach and all this “you’re my best friend stuff.” Other than that, there is little anger between Finny and Gene.
One day, Finny wanted Gene to come jump off a high limb into the river with him, as they have been doing for several weeks now, and he claimed that Leper, the school nerd, would be jumping today as well. Gene burst out angrily at the idea because he was studying, and thought Finny was trying to wreak his studies, so he said no. Finny took no offense and went along like nothing happened, but Gene couldn’t stand saying no to Finny and went anyway. Now he was enraged on the inside because he knew that Finny was not trying to wreak his studies and really is perfect. When at the tree, he was still sore at Finny and when he was about to jump, Gene shook the limb, Finny Lost balance, fell and shattered his leg. Never to play sports again. Now Gene had a new enemy: Guilt.
Gene knows that he has broken Finny’s leg, it is all his fault, his best friend can never play sports again because of him. All his fault. This is really eating at him and he denies it to everyone except himself. Gene tries to tell Finny that he jostled the limb and made him fall in the infirmary but the doctor came in and interrupted. Later, in the fall, Gene visited Finny at his home and told him that he did actually cause him too fall but Finny doesn’t want to hear any of those words being spoken from Gene’s lips so he doesn’t let him say anything else about the tree incident.
Now well into the winter session, Brinker, a friend of Genes, comes into his room and Gene gets nervous thinking that Brinker new that he had caused Finny’s accident, because of that Gene suggested they go to the butt room, a drab room where smoking was allowed only to be confronted by a bunch of “the fellas” jokingly trying to get Gene to say that he caused the accident, Gene panicked, played along but could not bring himself to say that he actually did push Finny out of th …