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A Separate Peace

by John Knowles

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In A Separate Peace, why does Gene feel he doesn't truly know Finny?

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Gene makes a lot of assumptions about Finny. For instance, he assumes that Finny is as competitive with him as he is with Finny. He assumes that Finny is jealous, just as he is jealous. He assumes that Finny is sabotaging him. He assumes that Finny has ulterior motives. But the truth is that Finny is a pure innocent. In a way, Gene is right. He doesn't know Finny at all, because he does not understand Finny's pure soul. Gene is flawed and insecure, and so he sees Finny through his own dirty lens. Finny is exactly as he appears which is why Gene doesn't know or understand him. Gene is not what he appears. Gene alters himself to please.

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