Character - Reader Relationships.
The idea in the novel "A Separate Peace" by John Knowles that stood out to me the most is relationships between the characters and the reader. John Knowles develops a relationship of disgust between the narrator, Gene and the reader as well as creating a strong relationship between Phineas and the reader. While reading "A Separate Peace", I developed my own opinion of Gene and Phineas through their choices, character traits, flaws, and sympathy and by hearing Gene as he tells the story in first person.
The author helps the reader develop a strong like for Phineas. He is outgoing, charming, a natural leader and gets through life by having fun and knowing that he will succeed in the things that matter to him-sports. Phineas is a smooth talker and can get out of any type of trouble with teachers, implying that he is very confident. His confidence and instant charm are also mentioned in John Knowles" short story Phineas, which starts when Gene and Finny first meet eachother and ends just after Phineas falls from the tree. When the two of them meet and found out that they would be sharing a room, Finny doesn't waste time with introductions and skips ahead to being best friends with Gene.
John Knowles also strengthens the reader's bond with Phineas through sympathy. Phineas" favourite things are taken away from him because his supposed best friend decides to jounce the limb of a tree so that he falls. The first feeling of sympathy is when Dr. Stanpole says, "sports are finished for him, after an accident like that." John Knowles develops pity for him throughout the rest of the novel, but the worst case of it was when Dr. Stanpole is telling Gene about Phineas" death and Gene does not believe that it could possibly be his own fault. This also contributes to more dislike of Gene's character.
Gene has his relationships mixed up. He goes through moods where he thinks that Phineas is his enemy but when he tries on Phineas" clothes and wonders, "what would Phineas do?" it is obvious that Gene is jealous of his friend.