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Word Count: 1,126
Poise In the novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles the protagonist Gene Forrester matures through three stages of his life at a New Hampshire prep school At the beginning of the story Gene is insecure and jealous of his charismatic friend Phineas Later in the tale Genes obsession with Phineas or more often referred to as Finny causes Gene to obtain Finnys identity after a tragic accident in which Gene disables Finny At the end of the book Genes brief stay at Devon School transforms him into a self-assured mature young man Through all of the events in the novel Gene learns one must be comfortable with himself to live a happy life and achieve a Separate Peace To start envy and animosity devour Gene First as Finny apparently is just about to be disciplined for improper dress and attempts to lie in order to save himself Gene feels content that his friend will be in trouble He thinks This time he wasnt going to get away with it I could feel myself becoming unexpectedly excited at that 20 Normally one friend would not like to see the other in strife but due to Genes jealousy he desires his God-like image of Finny to be invalidated Genes lack of empathy towards his alleged best friend builds up to a violent climax due to his longing for Finnys demise Furthermore Gene begins to be preoccupied with his thoughts of inferiority compared to Finny After Finny is polite towards Gene Gene misinterprets Finnys action and draws a false conclusion He states Because it was what you had in your heart that counted And I detected that Finnys was a den of lonely selfish ambition He was no better than I was no matter who won all the contests 48 This defense mechanism demonstrates a false rivalry between Gene and Finny Genes need for more achievement then Finny shows Genes insecurity in that he feels
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