This quote from A Separate Peace is from Chapter 7, when Brinker says he’s going to enlist in the war, and Gene becomes excited. He’s been thinking about enlisting but only in the dark recesses of his mind, and now the thought has been brought to the forefront.
The war would be deadly all right. But I was used to finding something deadly in things that attracted me; there was always something deadly lurking in anything I wanted, anything I loved. And if it wasn’t there, as for example with Phineas, then I put it there myself.
Gene has a self-defeating personality. He is unable to be happy and good naturally, and he gravitates toward things which will be bad for him and ruin him. Gene sees Finny as the better version of himself, the “good,” and his jealousy toward Finny arises from some understanding that he is not as “good” as he believes Finny to be. He is capable of harming others, of dark thoughts, and of malevolence. In fact, he is attracted to these things. He will...
(The entire section contains 2 answers and 550 words.)