Friendship in A Separate Peace

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Last updated: April 23, 2019

John Knowles wrote, A Separate Peace, to depict the theme of friendship as a relentless battle between Gene and Phineas that takes place in the early 1940s, in a preparatory school titled Devon.

Gene Forrester, both an antagonist and protagonist narrates the book in a flashback. Phineas, who is also labeled a main character helps to add to the confusion in the events that occur throughout the book. The title, A Separate Peace, infers so much about the book that is essentially tied to the two main characters in the end. Friendship in this book is depicted through Gene and Phineas in ways that are both negative and positive, and are then acted upon in various situations that unfortunately lead to Phineas’ untimely demise.Phineas and Gene were supposed to be friends, but there are events throughout the book that might lead the reader to wonder whether they were or not. Phineas and Gene made a conquest to the beach because Phineas wanted to. While at the beach, Phineas said, “‘I hope you’re having a pretty good time here. I know I kind of dragged you away at the point of a gun, but after all you can not come to the shore with just anybody and you can’t come by yourself, and at this teen-age period in life the proper person is your best pal.

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..which is what you are’” (Knowles 40). Phineas sure seems to think that they are friends, however Gene only thought what he should have said, he never acted.

After Phineas had spoken, Gene thought to himself, “I should have told him then that he was my best friend also and rounded off what he had said. I started to; I nearly did. But something held me back. Perhaps I was stopped by that level of feeling, deeper than thought, which contains the truth” (Knowles 40). Throughout the book, Phineas and Gene have two opinions that is not directly spoken to anyone.

Phineas thinks that he and Gene are best pals, however, Gene does not see eye to eye with Phineas, because he believes that Phinea…

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