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True Friends Essay, Research Paper
Jealousy is the route of many evils, and can effect us, all from the poorest of
paupers to the richest of kings. It has lead men to lie, cheat, steal and exhibit other
harmful acts toward their fellow man. This one emotion has broken the spirits of men
since the dawn of time, and there is no end in site. In A Separate Peace by John Knowls,
Gene, an all American boy, is griped with the age old torment of jealousy towards his best
friend. This drives him to do despicable things.
Gene’s jealousy flourishes for Phineas every time Finny accomplishes something
new. It reaches it’s pinnacle when Phineas beat the school swimming record and does not
want anyone to know about it. As if the feat itself wasn’t enough, being humble about it
angers Gene even more. He tries to deny the jealousy by figuring:
” I was more certainly becoming the best student in the school; Phineas was
without question the best athlete, so in that way we were even. But while
he was a very poor student I was a pretty good athlete, and when everything
was thrown on the scales they would in the end tilt definitely toward me”(47).
So in Gene’s mind he was better than Phineas, and this appeased the grip of jealousy for
awile at least. Peace is once again retained at the Devon school, but it wont last. Neither
Gene nor Phineas can foresee the agony which will soon be beckoning them.(4)
The summer was quickly passing for these two boys and Gene nearly forgot his
jealousy towards Finny. The stress of trying to be better and follow Finny’s wild ideas
finally got to Gene. He has had enough, and the jealousy turns to rage without Genes
knowledge. Finny has another wild idea, he and Gene will jump off the large tree into
the river together. Carelessly, Phineas ambles up the tree first with Gene following closely
behind.(1) They reached the top “…I took a step toward him, and then my knees bent and
I jounced the limb”(52). Finny fell, shattering his leg as well as his hopes and his dreams
for his future as an athlete. Gene is no better off. What had been jealousy was now
replaced by an even more painful emotion, guilt.
Neither Gene nor Phineases’ lives would ever be the same because of the role
jealousy played. While Phineas has to try to overcome his physical handicap, Gene must
deal with watching the pain he has brought upon Phineas. Jealousy will effect everyone
once in awile, but we must not follow the example of how Gene let jealousy rule over his
actions . When we are able to recognise jealousy we must try to use those feelings to
make use strive to be our very best instead of preventing someone else from being their
best. This makes it possible for both people to accomplish their best and live in harmony.
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