Death of Obligation In the story of A Separate Peace, the struggle and problems of a character are represented through the lives of two students at Devon School. Gene who is the dynamic character in the story is held back from achieving his goals and living the life he wants to live by Finny. Gene in a sense, devoted to Finny and can easily be convinced to do anything Finny presents to him. Gene's thoughts become blurred and he begins to believe anything that Finny says no matter how ridiculous it might seem. Finny's death was a very essential in order for Gene to grow and become his own person without the great desire to please someone else for the respect looked upon him. Gene and Finny are very different, yet they are exactly the same in other ways.
Finny is very athletic and active in sports, while Gene is a very good academic student and committed to his school work, yet when Finny is injured from falling out of the tree Gene begins to excel in sports. Gene believes that it is his obligation to train for the Olympics because he hurt Finny and he should live out Finny's dreams. He feels that it is his duty to do whatever Finny wants him to do that he is held from doing because of his handicap. When Gene loses all of his power and self image is when he first jumps out of the tree, yet he still continues to do so. The regular jumping from the tree becomes a source of resentment for Gene. Gene greatly fears the jump, but he fears losing Finny's respect even more.
Doing this shows that Gene is controlled by Finny. If he had not of jumped Gene could have lost his connection with Finny, and could be separated with him, becoming "A Separate Peace." It was only after dinner, when I was on my way to the library, that full danger I had brushed on the limb shook me again. If Finny hadn't come up right behind me... if he hadn't been there... I could have fallen on the bank and broken my back! If I had fallen awkwardly enough I could have been killed.
Finny had practically saved my life." As Gene does not realize it was Finny's idea to jump out of the tree causing a near accident, because of the fact that he is unaware of his great devotion and desire to please Finny. Gene begins to break down as he continues to suppress his anger and emotions toward Finny. He feels that he cannot trust Finny and everyone is against him. Gene believes that Finny's effort to increase on his studies and excel academically is a rivalry, and that Finny is trying to be the better of the two.
In the prime of his strong emotions churning inside of him he finally breaks loose and shakes the limb of the tree on which Finny is upon. This causes Finny to shatter his leg and lose his ability for sports. This causes Gene to come back to reality and realize what he has done. As Finny is away Gene becomes more independent and slowly loses his close relationship with Finny. This happening is a big advancement in Genes life.
The death of Finny was the birth of Gene. Finny's death was imperative in order for Gene to become his own person, think for himself and reach his goals without interfering. "I could not escape a feeling that this was my own funeral, and you do not cry in that case," Gene thought during the funeral. Gene was exactly right in the fact that part of him was dying, but the better part of him was still alive and now he could grow and become a stronger person.
Now that Finny had died the wall had been broken down and Gene could continue on the path of his choosing without the interference of having to please Finny.