How is my thesis on Gene and Finny in A Separate Peace?  I must write a thesis statement for A Separate Peace that is arguable with support. Please advise if what I have can be...

How is my thesis on Gene and Finny in A Separate Peace?  

I must write a thesis statement for A Separate Peace that is arguable with support. Please advise if what I have can be argued:  Finny was not setback by Gene's jealous obsession; instead he was set back by his own being naive to the situation at hand.

Since I could flip this thesis two ways, i was wondering which way would have more info to defend it.

 

Asked on by shaynen

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The thesis statement that Finny is not destroyed by Gene's envy of him, but rather by his naivete about the motivations of others can certainly be argued and well supported.  First of all, from the beginning Gene indicates his proclivity for altering reality by telling Mr. Patch-Withers tall-tales in Chapter 2, and by declaring in Chapter 8 that the "fat old men who don't want us crowding them out of their jobs" have made up the war just as they have tried Prohibiton and arranged the Depression to keep young people in their places,

"...so for us in the forties they've cooked up this war fake."

In addition, Finny creates the Super Suicide Society, Blitzball, and, later, the Winter Carnival, two acts of ignoring the reality of things. He also creates a dependency upon Gene and a refusal to accept reality, as indicated in Chapter 8, also:

I could hardly believe it, but it was too plainly printed in the closed expression of his face to mistake, too discernible beneath the even tone of his voice:  Phineas was shocked at the idea of my leaving.  In some way he needed me.  He needed me.  I was the least trustworthy person he had ever met.  I knew that; he knew or should know that too .  I had even told him.  I had told him.

So, when Finny admits to himself that Gene has betrayed him,no longer able to find liberation in believing that Gene has done nothing, this truth is too much for Finny to bear; for, it contrasts greatu with "the afternoon of momentary , illusiory, special and separate peace" on the day of the Winter Carnical.. Finny breaks because he is not able to accpet realit not having been able to construct those "maginot lines" that the others did to protect themselves from the "enemy who never attack this way: by lying to himself.  In Chapter 12, Finny desperately struggles to shield himself from the reality,

His face had been struggling to stay calm as he listened to me, but now he was crying, but trying to control himelf, "It was just some kind of blind impulse you had in the tree there, you didn't know what you were doing.  Was that it? he asks rather pitifully before he dies. 

 

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