A friendship between two teenage boys is always somewhat competitive. In John Knowles’ A Separate Peace, the main character Gene Forrester takes competitiveness to a level his so-called best friend, Finny, could never imagine. Gene does not consider it a friendship; he views it as a rivalry. He is driven by jealousy, which eventually causes him to injure Finny, both physically and emotionally. Finny is blind to reality throughout the novel, failing to see Gene’s envious attitude towards him. Gene, for his part, is angered most by Finny’s shining character. He states, “[Finny] had never been jealous of me for a second. Now I knew that there was never and never could have been any rivalry between us. I was not of the same quality as he.” Gene does not realize how lucky he is to have a friend like Finny. Instead, his insecurities prompt him to see the characteristics that Finny possesses, and he himself lacks.
I myself have been very competitive throughout my life, and continue to be to this day. There is no denying that my relationship with my best friend, Ari, has a competitive nature. Whether it is playing a FIFA game on Xbox, or battling it out on the basketball court, we play for bragging rights. That being said, I could never view my friendship with Ari as a rivalry. Although there is a competitive element, this in no way defines our friendship. Unlike Gene, I am thankful to have someone call me his best friend. I’m grateful to have someone for a 1-on-1 matchup on the basketball court. As Finny tells Gene, “at this teen-age period in life the proper person [to do things with] is your best pal.” It’s important to have a person with whom you can be competitive, without letting it affect your friendship.