Document Type

Sophomore Honorable Mention

Award Date

Fall 2013

Course Name

Literary Explorations I


Erin Micklo


19th century poet Ralph Waldo Emerson famously observed that "the only way to have a friend is to be one." His statement suggests that friendship is a two-way street, requiring contributions and sacrifices from all members to qualify as a genuine bond. However, in A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, the relationship between Gene and Phineas demonstrates that Emerson’s definition does not always hold true. As each boy struggles with his own inner turmoil and sense of identity on the brink of World War II, their friendship becomes unstable and incredibly one-sided – Gene constantly questions Phineas’ motives, convinced that a much darker evil lurks beneath his best friend’s amicable demeanor. Phineas, on the other hand, never wavers in his belief of Gene’s loyalty and always goes above and beyond. For his honesty, supportiveness, and loyalty, Phineas is a good friend to Gene.

Included in

Nonfiction Commons



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