Challenges of Civilization
(An Analysis of Marxism in a Separate Peace)
A Separate Peace is an impeccable paradigm of critical mythology interpreted by philosophers such as Marx, Engels and Hegel. The philosophy of Marxism serves as a basis for socialism and communism and is explicitly demonstrated by means of power, the understanding of human nature, and alienation. Finny demonstrates authority and control over a lonely, alienated friend Gene, however, unitedly they discover friendship through the individuality possessed by one another. Finny and Gene agonize with these eminent responsibilities and endeavor to uncover an inner peace within themselves as they evolve into young adults waking to the realities of life. Their entity follows the social formation of their lives, men enter into definite relations that are indispensable and dependant of their will, relations of production …development of their material productive forces. (Tucker, 1978, pg.4)
Therefore, by means of growth to maturity the two young men exemplify the challenges of manhood.
Power is an extremely dominant element that illustrates authority and control between the two young men Finny and Gene. Throughout society, the social power, i.e., the multiplied productive force, which arises through the co-operation of different individuals, since their co-operation is not voluntary but has come about naturally, not as their own united power.(Tucker, pg.161) Finny conducts himself as an authority figure, and an individualist with distinct and domineering characteristics. He emphasizes his power as a perfect individual that is not concerned what other people conceive of him. Finnys aggressiveness about jumping from the
tree has Gene thinking What was I doing up here anyway? Why did I let Finny talk me into stupid things like this? Was he getting some kind of hold over me? During their game of
Blitzball, Finny takes control of making the rules and shouts, Stop, Stop! in a referees tone. (Knowles, pg.35)Consequently, as power overwhelms Finny, he undertakes to experience the reality of life.
Nature of man illustrates the societys connection between fellowship and ones own individual existence. The civilization that surrounds mankind exists only for social man; for only here does nature exist for him as a bond with man…as the life element of the human world; only here does nature exist as the foundation of his own existence (Tucker, pg. 85) As the young boys interconnect throughout numerous activities the beach becomes very significant. The proximity of the boys becomes an emotional situation,
I hope you are having a pretty good time here.
I know I kind of dragged you away at the point of
a gun, but after all you cant come to the shore with
just anybody and you cant come by yourself and at
this teen-age period in life the proper person is your
best pal(Knowles, pg. 43).
Thus, Finny and Gene encounter the adversities of life as they grow closer together until Gene envisions himself as part of Finny. The death of Finny signifies the dissolution of a part of Gene, I could not escape a feeling that this was my own funeral and you do not cry in this case. (Knowles, pg.167) Therefore, the youths begin to comprehend the certainty of their life after adolescence.
Alienation proves that all friendships are not equal. As a result The less you are, the more you have; the less you express your own life, the greater is your alienated life the greater is the store of your entangled being (Tucker, pg.96) Throughout the boys maturity, Finny and Gene
experience many complications from not being able to express their emotions. Gene withdraws from the thought of being the assassin What happened there at the tree? That goddamn tree, Im
going to cut down that tree.Who cares who can jump out of it. What happened, what happened? How did you fall, how could you fall like that? (Knowles, pg.57) Gene senses the responsibility of his actions but he feels alienated and fears the loss of Finnys companionship. As adulthood sets upon the adolescents, they realize that friendship is a very meaningful concept and they appreciate what they have left together.
Marxism is clearly demonstrated by means of youth to manhood through experiences that are unearthed by Finny and Gene. Finny struggles with the power element, trying to be the authority figure and demonstrates his advantage to take control over every individual without any sincere emotions of any kind. However, the companionship developed through the nature of man, although agonizing, has formed a special bond between the two boys. Gene, nonetheless contends with feelings of alienation and self-estrangement indirectly generated by Finny.The two young men persevere these responsibilities to initiate a sense of inner peace that transpires from adolescence to adulthood. Their experiences prove to be a symmetric accomplishment of manhood.
Knowles, John. (1959) A Separate Peace London: Secker & Warburg Limited
Tucker, Robert. (1978) The Marx-Engles Reader (2nd ed.) New York: W.W. Norton & Company
Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99. 1998 Microsoft Corporation
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