A Separate Peace by John Knowles

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In what sense is the novel A Seperate Peace about good and evil?

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In the novel A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, Gene and Finny experience many life altering experiences, not only because of the rivalry between the two boys, but also because World War II is on the horizon. 

Gene, being the classical introvert and somewhat of a misfit at Devon, develops a friendship with Finny that grows in its intensity and culminates in an unhealthy jealousy of Finny's talents and abilities.  As the novel progresses, the boys create a suicide pact society called the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session.  This pact requires each member to leap from a very high tree into the river. 

Regardless of their ever growing friendship while at Devon, Gene becomes more and more obsessed with his need to be like Finny.  He is jealous, bitter, and becomes quite resolute that he will surpass Finny in popularity and athletic prowess.  Sadly, when the boys are jumping from the tree into the river, Gene is compelled to jiggle the limb when Finny is trying to jump.  This causes him to lose his balance, and tragically break his leg.  This, of course, fulfills Gene's need to surpass Finny, because the break is so bad as to destroy Finny's participation in sports. 

Why did Gene do this terrible thing to his best friend?  That is what we need to explore.  If you want to divide the book into the realms of good and evil, it is quite simple.  Gene, though a nice boy in the beginning of the story, becomes almost possessed by jealousy.  He acts upon this raging jealousy, which we can categorize as evil.  After all, Finny never meant Gene any harm.  

Later, when Gene tries to confess his deed to Finny, Finny refuses to believe that this could even be true.  Finny's sense of loyalty to Gene represents goodness as an opposite to Gene's evil.

The subject matter of World War II also comes into play, as the war continues throughout the 1940's.  Hitler and the Nazis are regularly portrayed as...

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