A Separate Peace Dealing with enemies has been a problem since the beginning of time. 'I never killed anybody,' ; Gene had commented later in his life, 'And I never developed an intense level of hatred for the enemy. Because my war ended before I ever put on a uniform, I was on active duty all my time at Devon; I killed my enemy there.' ; In A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, the value of dealing with enemies is shown by Gene, who was dealing with few human enemies, but his emotions created far greater rivals than any human could ever posses. One of the enemies that Gene created for himself was jealousy. Gene was jealous of everything about Finny. The openness which Finny possessed was one of these things which Gene envied.
One incident of Finny's openness was when he wore the pink shirt. By wearing this he was 'symbolizing the first U. S. bombing in Europe.' ; Gene simply replied to the shirt by calling Finny 'nuts,' ; but deep down inside Gene was jealous of Finny's boldness. Another incident of Finny's openness, or boldness is when he wore the school tie as a belt. Gene was anxiously waiting for Finny to get yelled at, but because of his openness he was able to talk his way out of getting into trouble.
Finny claimed that he wore the tie as a belt because it represented 'Devon in the War.' ; Again, Gene was envious of Finny's openness to make up a story and 'get away with everything.' ; Another one of Gene's enemies is his anger. Alone, his anger is mild, but when mixed with his jealousy, prove to be a deadly combination. Gene was angry at such things as Finny's ability go get out of trouble, and his own unwillingness to say 'no'; to Finny. The real war, however, started when he got the idea that because Finny had low grades, he wanted to lower Gene's grades as well, so he could remain 'better than'; Gene.
Gene believed that Finny was trying to wreck his studies with games and going to the beach, and their Secret Suicide Society. Another time Gene's anger shows is when Finny wanted Gene to come jump off the tree into the river with him, as they had been doing, and he claimed that Leper would be jumping too. Gene burst out angrily at the idea because he was studying, and he thought Finny was trying to wreck his grades, so he said no. Finny responded with no offense taken. Gene not being able to say 'no'; to Finny changed his mind and went to the tree anyway. Gene was now enraged on the inside because he realized that Finny was not trying to wreck his studies, and really was 'perfect.' ; Still feeling angry by Finny's 'perfection,' ; Gene jounced the limb when they were about to jump, causing Finny to fall and break his leg.
This shows that Gene's anger, mixed with this jealousy, drove him to cause physical pain to someone who was dear to him. Another enemy of Gene's is Finny's modesty. Early in the story, Finny demonstrated his modesty by when asked for his height he replied 'Five feet eight and a half inches.' ; Gene replied that he himself was 'five feet nine inches.' ; Finny pointed out that they were the same height and that Gene shouldn't be ashamed to tell anyone his real height. This tore Gene up inside. This is also and early indication that Gene feels that Finny feels 'better than'; him. Another case of Finny's modesty is when he breaks the school swim record.
Gene wanted to get an official time keeper so Finny could get a plaque with his name on it, but Finny simply replied, 'no, in my heard I know I can beat it.' ; This shows that Finny is modest and secure. Gene is surprised by this because it's further evidence that Finny is 'perfect'; . In A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, the value of dealing with enemies is shown by Gene, who was dealing with few human enemies, but his emotions created far greater rivals than any human could possess. After dealing with these problems, Gene is ready to face new problems and new enemies. Finny took problems a little at a time, and that's how Gene has changed, he is taking the same approach. Hate, anger, jealousy, and the enemies in the human heart are gone from Gene now, Finny took them with him to his grave..