In John Knowles’ A Separate Peace, Gene travels on a difficult road at Devon; but he also learns valuable lessons from his best friend Phineas. Phineas made a carefree environment that most at Devon enjoyed to be in. Gene knew that Phineas needed him, even though Finny was often the one with better life style choices. In a sense Gene looked up to Finny. He envies that Finny can figure out the world a little at a time and not let his “enemy” get the best of him. Finny understood the world and the truth in it. He understood how to let Gene be a legacy of his true taunting nature.
Finny had something that no one else Gene met had, he could go through life without letting his “enemy” be created in his mind. All people constructed the enemy except Phineas and Finny taught Gene to understand that the enemy is only a figure of our imagination. “All of them, all except Phineas, constructed at infinite costs to themselves these Maginot Lines against this enemy they thought they saw…if he was indeed the enemy.” Brinker was constantly mean to Finny, but Finny never let Brinker change who he was. He never let Brinker interfere and play tricks in his mind. Gene learns that no one is the enemy it is all an illusion your mind creates so that you can put all of your time and effort into something that doesn’t really exist. Now Gene knows his enemy does not exist.