Tad Williams, a science fiction writer who has written many books such as the series Shadowmark, once said, "We tell lies when we are afraid. afraid of what we don't know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger." This quote deals with some of the deeper themes in the novel A Separate Peace. The book is set in the 1940's at a private school in The United States of America. The protagonist Gene and his friend Phineas take on the difficult journey through lies and fear of the truth that ultimately change their lives forever and show them who they really are.
Phineas and Gene, although very different people, are great friends at their private school. Gene is an extremely introverted person who is into academics more than athletics, while Phineas is an outgoing athlete who is very social and caring. During the novel the boys create a club called the "Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session." To be a member you have to jump out of a tree into a river. Teachers do not allow the students to jump from the tree. They say that it is against the rules. Phineas, being the social person he is, talks to the teachers. "He pressed his advantage because he saw that Mr. Prud'homme was pleased, won over in spite of himself There might be a flow of simple, unregulated friendliness between them, and such flows were one of Finny's reasons for living." (ch2, par4) Gene's betrayal of Phineas' trust damages Phineas to his core. By lying, Gene is saving himself from what he fears most which is hurting Phineas again.
That summer Gene becomes jealous of Phineas and how seemingly perfect he is in everything he does. One day he gets the urge to do something about it. On the day they climb up the tree Gene decides to shake the branch and sends Phineas flying out of the tree shattering his leg.