Phineas' as an unrealistic character in A Seperate Peace by John Knowles.

Essay by brain3kHigh School, 11th gradeA+, November 2002

download word file, 2 pages 3.0

Recently our class had the opportunity to readA Separate Peace by John Knowles, an intriguing look into the mind of the maturing teen. Though a generally convincing and indeed well written book, the character Phineas in this story is portrayed by Knowles as an intentionally unbelievable character, through general naïve characterization, as well as the portrayal of Phineas as a character of extreme light, and as a prodigy or god, in order to more clearly emphasize and strengthen the themes brought out in the book.

Phineas is characterized by an obviously naïve perspective, one without either hatred or jealousy. When describing him, Gene tells us that Phineas automatically thought that in a game, everyone won, and would always work to such an end. This shows an unbelievable characteristic, as every person knows that for someone to win, someone else must lose. Only one of a completely and unbelievably pure nature could think this way.

At the end, Gene tells us that "only Phineas was never afraid, only (he) never hated anyone... Only (he) could never have any enemy." This is a further example of his unbelievable lack of hatred, and naïve nature. No one can truly lack any enemy in this world. Through such idealism in his nature is shown Phineas unbelievable nature.

Phineas is portrayed as a character of light, a property not possible for a "believable" character. Throughout the book, there are many references as to how Phineas seems to glow, with a constant strength or vitality. Additionally, he is always associated with lighter colours. Real people do not have such a constant strength of light, such a strong association with these things. Phineas, on the other hand, seems to almost emit a real glow from within. After Phineas' return to...