In the novel "A Separate Peace" John Knowles creates a relationship between two friends that will confuse many. These two friends are Finny and Gene, two popular students at Devon, a private high school in New Hampshire. Their relationship is a strange one; Gene feels resentment towards Finny but still wants to be friends with him. Throughout the whole story, Gene constantly has a different opinion about their friendship and tries to figure out exactly what is going on between them. However, Gene never realizes that, in the end, Finny is his motivation. .
Gene is very much a part of Finny entire life while in New Hampshire. At the beginning of the book he follows Phinaes around as if he was his shadow. Finny suggests that himself, Gene and some friends of his jump out of a tree, and in Gene's words, "what was I doing here anyway? Why did I let Finny talk me into stupid things like this? Was he getting some kind of hold on me?" (p. 17). this isn't the first time Gene does something he doesn't want to. Despite his initial reaction, he goes along with Finny and creates the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session and yet again jumps out of the tree to celebrate the beginning of the club. In chapter 3, Finny has the idea of going to the beach, and Gene expresses his reluctance immediately: .
The beach was hours away by bicycle, forbidden, completely out of all bounds. Going there risked expulsion, destroyed the studying I was going to do for an important test the next morning, blasted the reasonable amount of order I wanted to maintain in my life, and it also involved the kind of long, labored bicycle ride I hated. "All right," I said. (46) .
Every time Finny does something, Gene has the urge to follow, even if he doesn't like what he"'"s about to do. .
Without Finny, Gene is bland, he doesn"'"t think well. Right before chapter 8, Gene and his colleagues are working on the railroad to shovel snow for the WWII trains.