2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Opponent and Ally: A Psychoanalytical Approach to A Separate Peace
Katherine J. Huffman
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

A best friend, a rival, a roommate, an enemy, a soul mate – all these are ways in which the first-person narrator Gene treats the character Phineas in John Knowles’s novel A Separate Peace (1959). This paper will examine the multiple facets of the relationship between Gene and Phineas through a psychoanalytic perspective to uncover the inner workings of their outward displays of friendship. At times the characters seem set against each other, while at other times they can be seen to compose two halves of the same being, as though one is acting as the Freudian id while the other represents the superego. As the novel progresses, the characters’ friendship undergoes dramatic transformations when Gene projects his own insecurities and neuroses upon Phineas, becoming increasingly jealous and suspicious of his friend until he finally betrays him in much the same way as the id rebels against the superego.

Keywords: Separate Peace, Knowles, psychoanalysis, id, superego

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 25-3
Location: OP 2115
Time: 10:15 am

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