A Seperate Peace essay
A Separate Peace Essay It is key that one must get to know themselves in order to grow spiritually and mentally - A Seperate Peace essay introduction. This essay will cover the ideas and topics: Leper and his lack of self knowledge, Leper’s spontaneous decision making, Phineas’ lack of self knowledge, Phineas’ inability to adapt to new situations, Gene’s discovery of self knowledge, Genes acceptance of Finny’s death, and most importantly, how self knowledge is essential to personal growth. Leper’s lack of self-knowledge results in his inability to successfully function in society.
Not being aware of society’s tendency to pass judgment causes social alienation. The main clear reason the boys at Devon alienate Leper is because of his personality. He is a quiet, reserved, contemplative boy who doesn’t have any friends and is just different than everyone else therefore he is judged. Leper’s lack of self-knowledge and awareness that the boys are doing this to him results in him not successfully functioning in society. For example he has no friends, or anyone to talk to for that matter.
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Not only can lack of self knowledge cause social alienation, it also leads to irrational decision making. Leper, along with being socially alienated, also made an irrational decision of joining the war without thinking about it. Having a lack of self-knowledge is what most likely made him choose to enlist in the war. Just as alienation and irrational decision making occur because of lack of self-knowledge, a sudden realization about evil in the world causes psychological damage. Leper escapes from the war because the army is planning on giving him a section eight discharge for insanity.
The reason he may have developed psychological damage is because he was no longer in Devon and his regular environment, but at the training camps where he was unable to successfully function in society so he started hallucinating and going insane. “The army has the perfect word for everything, did you ever think of that? …And the perfect word for me…psycho. I guess I am. I must be. Am I though, or is the army? Because they turned everything inside out” (149-150). This quote shows how Leper has psychological damage due to lack of self knowledge and irrational decision making.
In these ways, it is evident that Leper suffers serious personal consequences as a result of his lack of self-knowledge. Phineas’ lack of self-knowledge results in dire consequences. Naivete about personal abilities creates resentment. Phineas’ fall from the tree results in memory loss therefor he does not remember Gene jouncing the limb. “I don’t know anything. Go away. You make me sick. Go away” (70). This quote is said by Phineas when Gene admits to causing his injury. As this quote shows, Finny is completely naive about that and then resents Gene for saying something like that.
The inability to adapt to new situations results in the repetition of past mistakes. Phineas is instructed to be very careful around stairs with his injured leg and to be more careful than he used to be, but his inability to adapt to doing these things caused him to break his leg again when he fell down the marble staircase. “This is something I think boys of your generation are going to see a lot of, and I will have to tell you about it now. Your friend is dead. ” (193). This quote is said by Dr. Stanpole to Gene after Phineas has died.
This shows his inability to adapt resulted in the repetition of past mistakes, and lead to a dire consequence being death. The refusal to acknowledge dark impulses in others results in an untimely death. Finny and Gene were awoken in the night by the other boys and taken to a little ‘trial’ where they accused Gene of pushing Finny. Finny of course refused to acknowledge the fact that Gene did it and left in a hurry then fell down the stairs. Of he hadn’t have done so his untimely death would have never happened.
If Phineas had more self-knowledge his consequence would have not been as severe. Gene’s discovery of self-knowledge allows for personal growth. Realizing your mistakes and doing what’s right. “I deliberately jounced the limb so you would fall off. ” (70). Gene shortly after pushing Phineas out of the tree realized what he did was wrong and did the right thing by telling him. When one works hard for what they want they will surely get it. “It wasn’t the cider which made me surpass myself, it was the liberation we had torn form the encroachments of 1943….
”(136-137) Gene had won the Devon Olympics game not cause of the hard cider but because Finny and he worked so hard training him. Knowing that anything one does can affect others quite immensely. “I could not escape a feeling that this was my own funeral, and you do not cry in that case. ”(194). Gene realized that Finny’s death all lead back to Gene pushing him out if the tree in the first place. If he hadn’t made that choice then Phineas would still be alive, others would not be mourning his loss, and Gene would not feel like part of him died as well when Finny did.
Just like Gene, when a person discovers more about themselves and realizes their mistakes they will grow as a person. In the novel, Lepers cannot function successfully in society, and Phineas gets injured twice then dies. This is due to their lack of self-knowledge. However Gene seems to be the only one who discovers self knowledge and grows personally from it. These three characters are all excellent examples of how self knowledge is essential to human growth.