The novel, ‘A separate peace’ is authored by John Knowles. This novel is based on a story of the author that was later developed as a novel in the year 1959. The novel reminds readers about school days and teen life. This paper intends to discuss the novel with a special focus on chapters 4, 5, and 6 of the novel.
The story is narrated by Gene Forrester. In chapter 4, Gene awakes at a beach with sunrise and becomes conscious that he has to face the math test within a short time. He rushes to the venue and reaches there on time but fails to perform well in the test. He realizes that he has failed for the first time in any test. Gene expresses grief for his worst performance in the test on the other hand; Finny mocks Gene for his aspiration to top in the class. Gene starts thinking that Finny does not want to see him doing well in the study. Finny was a good athlete and was doing well in his athletic activities. Gene believes that finny does not want to see him doing well in the study and wants to see him as failure (Knowles).
Gene decides to avoid Finny in order to study hard. Gene develops a sense of competition with Finny, though he cannot afford ignoring him and feels good when he is with finny. Chapter 4 begins with the sunrise that symbolizes change and this change is also observed in the behavior of Gene towards Finny. Appearance of the beach is changed into its natural appearance from what it was during the sunrise. Finny also mocks Gene when he does not perform well in the test but his intentions were clear and later he appears as a normal individual who is caring and does not hold any rancor for his friend Gene.
In chapter 5, Gene comes to know that finny fell from a tree and has broken his leg. Every teacher, student and staff of the school was worried about the incident but nobody was aware that Gene was responsible for this untoward incident. Gene was feeling guilty and he visited Finny in the hospital. Gene accepts that it was him who was responsible for the accident. Finny does not want to talk about it anymore and Gene realizes how he misunderstood Finny and caused him to suffer (Knowles).
In this chapter, Gene appears as a cunning, naive and bitter person. He is the narrator of the story, but he himself appears as a jealous man at several places. He believes in reacting but his honest acceptance suggests that irrespective of all his wickedness, he is good at heart. Gene is portrayed as a confused and insecure teenager while Finny appears as strong and a kindhearted person.
Chapter 6 starts as Gene is back in the school and Finny is yet to come. Gene gets the same room that was allotted to him in the earlier session. The war has started and its impact is clearly visible on the students as well as on the teachers (Knowles). Finny calls Gene and says him to wait and not to keep anybody else as roommate. Gene tells Finny that he is not going to participate in the sports but Finny insists that he should be participating. Finny encourages Gene to participate in sports and Gene accepts his request.
Knowles, John. A Separate Peace. USA: Simon and Schuster, 1996.