Friends or Foes: You Decide
In A separate Peace, By John Knowels, the theme shown is that close friends make the worst enemies. Over the course of the novel this theme is shown through the symbolic representations of Gene and Finny’s Freindship.
In a story Gene tells finny, Gene talks about a fire which is a metaphor for the state of their friendship. In the story it says “There was a fire. It was just a grass fire out behind our house. We… took some brooms and beat it, I guess what we really did was fan it because it kept getting bigger…” Fires are consuming, known to spread quickly and are generally a symbol of rage therefore the fire in the story is a symbol for the consuming feelings that is starting to put a strain on Gene and Finny’s ...view middle of the document...
During the conversation Finny says “What I mean is, I love winter and when you really love something, then it loves you back in whatever way it has to love.” Gene replies “I didn’t think this was true, my seventeen years of experience had shown this to be more false than true.” In the wintertime the weather becomes very cold. Since love is usually associated with warmth (hence the phrase Heart-warming) this Coldness felt during winter is a representation of absence of love. Even though Finny might love Gene, there is a lack of love in Gene’s heart for finny.
In the novel Leper also Mentions a symbol of Finny and Gene’s relationship while describing Finny’s accident. During Gene’s “trial” Leper says “That’s what it was like, if you wanted to know. The two of them looked as black as- as black as death standing up there with fire all around them.” Not only does Fire symbolize consuming rage inside of a person but Fire also symbolizes destruction, while black symbolizes death. What Leper saw foreshadowed the destruction of Finny’s Life caused by the intense amount of rage and jealousy felt by his best friend Gene. The blackness Leper saw when looking at Gene and Finny Symbolizes the death of their bond.
In conclusion the theme of the novel is that the two friends are each other’s worst enemies. If I could explore this theme more I would show how other people viewed the relationship between Gene and Finny’s relationship so I wouldn’t just include Finny’s or Gene’s insight. I would also discuss the meaning of the comments Gene made surrounding the event of Finny’s death on the last page of the novel. If I could expand on the message of the book I would explore what does the transformation from friendship to becoming enemies say about the strength of a friendship.