Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
In John Knowles’ A Separate Peace, John Knowles builds many character archetypes, most impactful being Phinneas, Gene and Leper, who all having different archetypes. He uses these archetypes to develop the story and advance what happens later.
Many characters have common archetypes, most notably being Phineas. Phineas depends on his manipulative skills at school to make sure that he won’t get into trouble for breaking the rules. He ignores any and all forms of intelligence. To the other students, Phineas acts as his words must be followed by all. All of these character traits point to Phineas having the archetype somewhat of a trickster. Usually, the trickster, due to his lack of rule following, gets into bigger trouble than anticipated.
From the beginning of the book, this begins to be demonstrated. Phineas was suppose to get in trouble from jumping out of the tree and missing dinner, but his wits help get out of it, “Mr. Prud’homme released his breath with a sort of amazed laugh, stared at Finny [Phineas] for a while, and that was all there was to it” (Knowles 23). Even though Phineas can manipulate like this, as I said before, the trickster usually bits off more than he can chew. In this case, Phineas attempts to jump off the tree again, loses his balance, falls and breaks his leg. This eventually leads to his death when bone marrow accidently flows into his bloodstream. His death is foreshadowed throughout the book once one figures out that Phineas has a trickster archetype.
Gene has a similar archetype to a faithful friend or sidekick, even though the story is read through his perspective. One may infer that Gene is going to be affected by events happening to Phineas, even if they weren’t directed towards Gene. For example, Phineas starts telling himself that the wars don’t exist but eventually Phineas admits to himself that wars do exist and that he can’t live in his imagination anymore and when this happens, it also affects Gene.
Gene believes that what Phineas tells him is true and right. Gene matures along with Phineas. The most prominent example of this is when Phineas dies. The event doesn’t directly affect him as he is not physically harmed, but it affects him because of his close relationship with Phineas, “I could not escape a feeling that this was my own funeral,” (Knowles 194) John Knowles establishes character archetypes in order to develop and impact the foreshadowing within the book.