What is a quote from A Separate Peace by John Knowles that shows that Gene is proud?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the first few chapters of A Separate Peace, Gene shows how jealous he is of his best friend's charisma and athleticism. Gene is so jealous of Phineas that he searches his mind for examples of how he could possibly be better than Finny's charming talk, breaking the school's swimming record, or creating the game of Blitzball. Gene is tired of feeling like his best friend's shadow, so he clambers for success in any way he can find it. When Gene does find it, he also finds pride to accompany his successes--and all this in an effort to make himself feel better in Finny's presence. Gene realizes that he is a better student than Phineas, so he sets his sights on beating Chet Douglas, the top of their class, at every test and assignment during the summer semester. Gene, therefore, shows how proud he is in the following passage:

"I was more and more certainly becoming the best student in the school; Phineas was without question the best athlete, so in that way we were even. But while he was a very poor student I was a pretty good athlete, and when everything was thrown into the scales they would in the end tilt definitely toward me. The new attacks of studying were his emergency measures to save himself. I redoubled my effort" (55).

This passage also seems sad because Gene has to pull his friend down in order to feel better about himself. After comparing both of the boys' strengths and weaknesses, Gene feels proud that the "scales" would favor him over Phineas. 

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A Separate Peace

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