A Separate Peace explores how rivlary affects a friendship through dialogue.  Explain.

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What is vital to remember when reading this book is that the narration is first person. This means we only see everything from Gene's point of view. Often with first person narration we come to realise that the narrator, whether he or she is aware of it or not, is unreliable - that means he or she is not self-aware enough to realise his or her own faults and mistakes. This clearly the case with this novel, as Gene interprets (wrongly) so many of Finny's actions as being based in jealousy and rivalry, whereas in fact Finny is the one innocent character in the entire book who is not jealous at all of Gene.

However, bearing that in mind, consider the following example of dialogue, from the first chapter after both Finny and Gene have leapt from the tree:

"You were very good," said Finny good-humoredly, "once I shamed you into it."

"You didn't shame anybody into anything."

"Oh yes I did. I'm good for you that way. You ahve a tendency to back away from things otherwise."

"I never backed away from anything in my life!" I cried, my indignation at this charge naturally stronger because it was so true. "You're goofy!"

Note here how, from Gene's perspective, we have the classic elements needed to provoke his envy and rivalry. Finny's first remark was probably meant completely innocently as a kind of joke in complete friendship (note the description "good-humoredly"), but Gene interprets this as a slight on his character, made all the more worse because he recognises its truth. Thus Finny's comments made in friendship spark off and continue to enflame Gene's low self-esteem about himself, his envy and rivalry of Finny's natural self-confidence, athletic ability and poise and lastly his own insecurities.

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A Separate Peace

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