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A Separate Peace

Themes of A Seperate Peace

Emma Covert

on 15 January 2013

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Transcript of A Separate Peace

Teenage Themes: A Separate Peace By Emma Covert Competition War and Peace The relationship between Gene and Finny is central to the novel. The nature of their friendship is very much focused on their co-dependency of each other.
Finny's leg is broken: he attempts to live vicariously through Gene.
Gene welcomes the idea. Even Finny's death cannot sever the sense of co-dependency Gene feels
He feels that Finny's funeral is almost his own. "'Listen, pal, if I can’t play sports, you’re going to play them for me,' and I lost 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 Phineas" Finny to Gene, (Knowles, 85). Identity Gene feels that without Finny, he is like a ghost, without purpose, symbolizing not only the fact that he depends on Finny, but his own dislike for himself.
In their teens, many people are searching for their own identities. They feed on the people around them, joining cliques in an attempt to find who they are. Finny sees competition as a way to have fun, to bring out the best in people, both physically and mentally. He is unaware of Gene's disdain for his accomplishments, and is even a bit envious of Gene's academic ability.
Gene, however, sees this simple wanting as the same level of envy he feels. Because of this, everything Finny does seems to him a way to "level the playing field." In the high-caliber prep school of Devon, the boys are no stranger to competition. Everyone is competing, either through sports or academics.
Finny and Gene's friendship (at least on Gene's side) has much competition, so much so that Gene, in a moment of impulse, decides to try and eliminate his competition, Finny, to make them "even". Teenagers-as well as adults-compete in their daily lives. Everyone wants to be the best at something, either academics or athletics or work or something else entirely. Sometimes competition can provide a healthy stimulant for efficiency and teamwork, but it can also become dangerous, e.g. in Gene's case. The concept of war and peace is a large part of the boys' lives at Devon. The concept of war and peace is a large part of the boys' lives at Devon. World War II has a shadowy effect on the boys, forcing them to grow up.
The War itself is painted as heroic and patriotic, and no one tells the boys about the insanity and horror of it. A Separate Peace is set in a boarding school during World War II. The boys attending this school are in their mid-late teens, which is a time where identity and competition, as well as the concept of war and peace, play vital roles in their lives. A Separate Peace portrays these themes through the interaction between these young boys, specifically through the relationship of Gene and Phineas. Oh, and finally, I thought this would be a nice way to end this Prezi. Because I think that everyone else felt this way while reading this book. Before, Devon had always been a safe haven for the boys, but once one of their own, Leper, is "taken" by the Army, it becomes more of a shadowy place. Also, when Finny, who constantly symbolizes peace, leaves due to his injury, Gene even states outright that "Peace had deserted Devon" (Knowles, 72). "The odds were tremendously against the ball carrier, so that Phineas was driven to exceed himself practically every day when he carried the ball" (Knowles, 59).
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