In A Separate Peace how does Gene's relationship with Finny bring the narrator to a fuller understanding of himself?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Finny helps Gene understand that he is capable of envy, fear, bitterness, and even betrayal and harmful acts against another person.  After the tree incident, Gene realizes how petty and small-minded he had actually been when it came to Finny.  It shed light on the fact that he was incredibly insecure, and selfish.  It was a hard realization for him, as it would be for anyone.  Realizing our faults is a difficult process, and we often are in denial and justify our bad behavior.  Gene had been justifying his feelings for a long time, until the fall opened his eyes to the fact that it was him that was the problem, not Finny.

As the story progresses, Finny teaches Gene about friendship, forgiveness, unconditional acceptance, and trust.  Finny's trust of Gene gives Gene confidence and reassurance.  By the end of the story, Gene has to forgive himself for his weaknesses, and accept the damage that they have done to a good friend.  Finny is the person that teaches Gene a lot about himself throughout the story.  I hope that those thoughts helped; good luck!

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A Separate Peace

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