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In A Separate Peace John Knowles enlightens readers on human existence by displaying how denial allows a person to stray from reality Numerous cases of denial overwhelm and test characters assurances of their own presence Characters such as Gene Forrester and Phineas Finny fail to acknowledge denial so that their naivet prohibits them from identifying the truth Eventually fate causes each to face his own guilt embarrassment and disbelief As the novel progresses Gene Forrester the main character continuously rejects the idea of being a savage underneath Gene has a somewhat dark streak in his nature which triggers him to lash out at innocent people He intentionally jounces the limb of a tree while Finny his best friend is standing at the edge causing Finny to plummet and break his leg This vicious act permanently damages Finny yet Gene refuses the contemplation of being malicious You always were a savage underneath I always knew that only I never admitted it But in the last few weeksI admitted a hell of a lot to myself Its you we happen to be talking about now Like a savage underneath like that time you knocked Finny out of the treeLike that time you crippled him for life pg 137 Elwin Leper Lepellier another main character attempts to inform Gene of his inner malevolence however he never is able to come to terms with this not even fifteen years later A controversy between mind and compassion prevents Gene from confessing his hatred guilt and envy towards Phineas His mind could not comprehend how his heart could ruin such an important yet remarkable companionship It wasnt my neck but my understanding which was menaced Finny had Never been jealous of me for a second Now I knew that there never was and never could have been any rivalry between us I was not of the same quality as he pg 51 Gene considers that
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