Friendship is a responsibility and a privilege, not a right. Many people have trouble with this lesson. In the novel A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, the theme of friendship becomes the main focus through characters, emotions and hardships. It is a novel about two boys, Gene and Phineas, with nothing, and everything, in common.
Gene and Phineas were best friends, however, they made somewhat of an odd pair. Gene was a quite boy; he studied hard and excelled in all of his classes. On the other hand, Phineas, better known as Finny, was athletic, fearless, and always a leader. In chemistry, opposites attract, and in the case of Gene and Finny, the same seemed to be true.
Soon, however, underlying emotions and growing rivalry began to eat at the friendship of Gene and Finny like bacteria. Gene began to feel shadowed by Finny's popularity. Jealousy and insecurity drove Gene to suspicion. Gene thought that Finny wanted to ruin him, to use having fun as an excuse to make Gene fail in school. In the end Gene's subconscious worries took over and Gene, without realizing his own actions, causes serious injury to Finny.
Like all true friendships, Gene's and Finny's relationship eventually recovered. After the incident Finny went trough a period of denial, wanting to believe Gene would never intentionally hurt him. However, Finny was soon forced to acknowledge what really happened. Much anger was expressed by Finny until Gene was finally able to talk with him. Gene and Finny reconciled.
A Separate Peace is a story about friendship. A pair of best friends doing the best they can in a time when life is hectic and the world is confusing. This story gives us characters dealing with friendship, emotion that can destroy friendship and hardships that only a true friendship could withstand. A Separate Peace is about friendship and the many factors that effect it.