Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend. ” (Albert Campus). Both books A Separate Peace by John Knowles and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck focus on friendship. Gene and Finny are best friends but are not always there for each other while George Is always there for Leonie In the good and bad. A best friend will be there for you through thick and thin. Friendships develop because of a common bond. Finny and Gene in a Separate Peace were friends because they both went to the Devon School.
Their friendship not only developed because they both went to Devon but because they both had things in common. The boys were jealous of each other. Finny was jealous of Gene being able to get such good grades without really studying and Gene was Jealous of Finny being so athletic. George and Leonie became friends because of Lien’s aunt Clara. Ego knew Aunt Clara and she used to take care of Leonie. But, when Aunt Clara died Leonie had no one to take care of him so George had to step in and take care of Leonie.
Both friendships became very strong but they developed in different ways. The friends were always there for each other no matter what. After becoming such good friends, Gene did not want to be less than or disappoint Finny and Leonie did not want to disappoint George. Gene knows he can be the best in the school academically but believes that Finny is trying to take up all his time so that he won’t do as well on his tests. If Gene does not get good grades Finny can get ahead of him and Gene can’t stand the idea of that.
He could not stand the idea of being less than Finny. But, Gene does not want to disappoint Finny. For instance, when Finny found out he could no longer play sports and asked Gene to play sports or him Gene practiced for the Olympics with Finny because he did not want to hurt him anymore than he already had even though he was not actually planning on competing In the Olympics. Similarly, Leonie feared disappointing George. When Leonie killed Curlers wife, he was so afraid that George would be upset and not let him tend to the rabbits.
Leonie may have been scared of disappointing George Just because he wanted to tend to the rabbits but he loved George and admired him and therefore didn’t want to disappoint him and have him leave him behind. Disappointing or being less than their friends never crossed George and Fanny’s minds but it was definitely on Lien’s and Gene’s. There is always a little bit of jealousy or competitiveness in a friendship. Finny was very Jealous of Gene being able to get such good grade without really trying. Also, Gene was Jealous of Finny being the top athlete at Devon.
He thought that Finny being the top athlete and trying to take him away from his studying that Finny was trying to get ahead of him which made Gene very competitive with Finny. Gene was also Jealous that Finny could get away with anything Just by talking himself out of it. For Instance, Finny had said ” I was beginning to see that Phonies could get away with anything. I couldn’t help envying him that a little, which was perfectly normal. There was no harm In envying even your best friend a little. ” (Knowles, 25). He said this when Finny had put on a pink collared shirt.
Gene was upset with this because Finny George and Leonie had no Jealousy to each other what so ever. Of course this was because Leonie was mentally disabled and did not fully understand everything so why would George be Jealous of Leonie. True friends care about each other and would do anything for the good of each other. However, Gene did not often think what was the best for Finny. Gene Jounced the limb for himself. He wanted Finny to feel what it was like to be at the bottom and wanted Finny to feel the emotional hurt he was feeling.
He may not have wanted Finny to get physically hurt but if he was actually thinking about Finny and not himself he most likely would not have Jounced the limb. In contrast, George killed Leonie for the good of Leonie. If he hadn’t killed Leonie he knows Leonie would have lived a very harsh life and died a horrible death if he had left Leonie in his time of need. If he had left Leonie for Curler to get at Leonie would have suffered. George ailed Leonie while Leonie was at peace imagining the most amazing thing he could think of, living on a farm with George.
Even Slim knew George did it for the good of Leonie. He shows it when he says ” You Haddam, George. I swear you Haddam… ” (Steinbeck, 107). George was thinking all about the good of Leonie unlike Gene who was only thinking about himself. Both friendships went through a lot of good and bad. Gene and Finny went through different stages of perfect friendship and horrible friendship. In the beginning Gene and Finny were the best of friends running around and tackling each there. Then, it took a turn for the worst and Jealousy stepped in.
Gene and Finny got jealous of each other but still stayed best friends through everything even when Gene broke Fanny’s leg. Similarly, ever since George and Leonie became friends after Lien’s aunt Clara died they stuck together through everything. Leonie often put them in dangerous situations from doing things he did not understand but George always stuck with him. George could have dumped Leonie at any time but he didn’t beaus he was Lien’s one and only friend who was always there to take care of him ND keep him safe.
Only the best friendships stick together through everything. There are different types of friends everywhere in the world. There are the kinds that are friends because of Jealousy and pity such as Gene and Finny. Then there are the kinds that are friends because they could not survive without each other and you never know what to expect such as George and Leonie. There are big friends, little friends, true friends, and fake friends but best friends will be with you no matter what. A best friend will be there for you through thick and thin.