A Separate Peace, Chapter 3
English 10B, 6th Period


February 19, 2001


Chapter 3 of A Separate Peace by John Knowles was tedious. Gene and his best friend Finny play sports and ditch the Devon School for a day at the beach and a bar.


The Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session is born! All members had to jump from the tree, and Gene despised it. But Gene always jumped. He notes to himself if he didn’t, he “would have lost face with Phineas, and that would have been unthinkable” (Knowles 28). The suggestion established a basis for competition among Gene and Finny. When I realized this I immediately went to the beginning of this chapter, when Gene didn’t feel gratitude towards Finny for “saving his life”. The saying, “if you can’t beat them, join them” referring to Gene’s friendship with Finny is masking competition and envy.


Finny is a character that tends to accept Gene as a best friend but he understands his influential boundary (for instance, upon Gene) and maneuvers it accordingly. Gene notes, “…he [Finny] enjoyed himself hugely…” (Knowles 39). I propose this statement is stimulated by envious basis. Gene may be indicating that Finny has more attributes that are admirable than himself. This indication would certainly entail self-esteem issues or, if apparent, he is neither as good nor better than Finny.


Gene downplays America and directly displays it to be inferior to its image and musical proposals. The instigator of these arguments is war (once again, war dominates a novel that I have yet to declare brilliant). These foul judgments represent the view of a British pompous fool. But what signals ahead frightens me more. Gene states, “…no one notices or rewards any achievement involving the body unless the result is to kill it or save it on a battlefield” (Knowles 34). My foreshadowing skills indicate a major development rising ahead, either completely evil or heroic in nature,


Chapter 3 is less tedious than 4, but improvement on limiting descriptions should be in place. We see the birth of a secret society, a signal for a massive plot, and the hatred words again America.