Separate Peace

.. is when Brinker and three acquaintances come into Gene and Finny’s dorm and pull them out. After they entered the Assembly Room, Brinker remarks, “You see how Finny limps.” This phrase was the beginning of his plan to set the truth loose, or primarily break the friendship link between Finny and Gene. Brinker chose the Assembly Room as the setting for this trial since there is nothing humorous about the place. It is a place which would be terrible for Gene’s sake to talk about the cause of the accident. The second support is Brinker’s remark in consociation to the accident.

He says to Gene, “There is a war on, here’s one soldier our side has already lost. We’ve got to find out what happened.” A powerful remark by Brinker which ignites the trial. This indicates a strong reason for the trial, Brinker uses this tactic to have the truth let out. The truth that will undoubtedly break the strong bond between Finny and Gene. The truth in which will lead to another tragic fall of Finny. The third support is during the trial when Brinker and Gene are talking about the accident.

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Brinker asks Finny, “Have you ever thought that you didn’t just fall out of that tree?” This inquiry from Brinker sets Finny into a different focus, which will open up the accident, a focus that will narrow it all down to Gene being questioned. These are the examples of Brinker’s inhumanity to let the truth loose. His focus is not on just getting the truth out, but breaking Finny and Gene’s friendship. The third point is about when Leper calls Gene to visit him in his Vermont home and Gene runs away. This falls under the Man’s Inhumanity to Man category because Gene runs from Leper because he cannot face the fact that Leper has gone crazy. The support for this is when Leper tells Gene, “You always were the lord of the manor, weren’t you?” This statement is an example of pushing Gene. It gets Gene upset.

The next support is Leper’s quote to Gene which resulted in Gene’s physical outburst on Leper. Leper says “like the time you knocked Finny out of the tree.” This provokes Gene because it is reminding him of his inhumane action to Finny. Thus, resulting in Gene being inhumane to Leper and knocking him out of his chair. The final support is when the scene finally ends. Gene says to Leper, “Do you think I want to hear every detail, I don’t care what happened to you Leper.” This quote from Gene is after Leper explained to him the details of his insanity.

Gene cannot hear anymore of Leper’s talk about his insanity and runs away. This is the final argument in regards to the involvement of Man’s Inhumanity to Man as the theme in the story. Gene Forrester’s difficult journey towards maturity and the adult world is a main character focus of this novel. Gene’s journey begins the moment he pushes Finny from the tree and the process continues until he visits the tree fifteen years later. Throughout this time, Gene must become self-aware, face reality and the future, confront his problems, as well as forgive and accept the person that he is. With the jouncing of the limb, Gene realizes his problems and the true person he is inside.

Fifteen years later, when revisiting the tree, he finally accepts and forgives himself. This journey is a long and painful one. At the end of this long and winding road filled with ditches, difficulties and problems, Gene emerges a mature adult. Gene jounces the limb and causes Finny’s fall and at that moment becomes aware of his inner-self and learns of his true feelings. This revelation comes to him back in his room before he and Finny leave for the tree.

It surrounds him with the shock of his true self until he finally reacts by jouncing the limb. Up in the tree, before the two friends are about to make their “double-jump”, Gene sees Finny in this new light. He realizes that Finny feels no jealousy or hatred towards him and that Finny is indeed perfect in every way. Gene becomes aware that only he is the jealous one. He learns of his animosity and that he really is a “savage underneath”.

Over a long period of time Gene had been denying his feelings of hatred towards Finny, saying that it was normal for him to feel this way. Now all of the feelings come back to him and he sees how terrible he really is. After the realization of the person he truly is, in his room and up in the tree, Gene must now confront his problems, face reality, and deal with the future. He must learn that communication is very important in a relationship and that he must express himself instead of keeping his feelings inside, as he had always done with Finny. He must learn to listen to himself rather than to others. These were just a few of the many problems there were in his relationship with Finny.

He must face reality and acknowledge the fact that he isn’t as great as Finny, that he is his own individual person and that Finny isn’t as perfect as he thought. Gene must accept the guilt for Finny’s difficulties after his injury and must help Finny as a punishment and act of repentance for his deed. Gene does this by “giving a part of himself to Finny” as we see with the case of sports throughout the rest of the novel – how Gene “becomes” Finny when it comes to sports. Although the above are all of great importance, the greatest hurdle Gene must overcome is learning to live with what he’s done. This painful step is the one which will allow him to completely mature. The final stage of Gene’s maturation is his self-acceptance and self-forgiveness.

He has to accept that he isn’t perfect and that he, like any other normal being (even Finny), has faults. Accepting that his innocence has been lost helps Gene move on into another part of his life and realize that he can never return to the days of his innocent youth again. He can now become a man, enter the war and adult world and leave his youth behind. Forgiving himself is the step which allows Gene to lead a normal life and enter society. He must finally forgive himself completely for his blind act and allow himself to “come in out of the rain”. By accepting as well as forgiving the person that he is, Gene enables himself to move on and join the adult world.

Gene’s maturation is a painful and difficult process that reveals a darker side of Gene that he doesn’t necessarily wish to see. However painful, Gene is made a better person during his maturation through his suffering. Through his pain and awful revelations about himself, Gene matures from an insecure child to a self-knowledgeable adult. The significant quote that I chose for “A Separate Peace,” is when Brinker says to Gene: “There is a war on, here’s one soldier our side has already lost. We’ve got to find out what happened.” This remark relates to me because is determining and shows leadership.

He is determined to find out what happened and he will do whatever it takes to find out even if he has to break up a friendship. I would have done the same thing. If I had a friend, and he or she was intentionally pushed from a tree because someone was jealous of him or her, I would become angry and agitated until I got to the bottom of it.