The Two Trees Essay
The Two Trees
The relationship between Gene and Finny can be compared to the event that took place in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve partaking of the tree of knowledge. While the danger was always present, it wasn’t until the temptation overtook Eve and then Adam that the fall from grace took place. Comparing this to the fall from the tree Finny took with the help of Gene, I will show how both allusions teach us the treachery of the heart.
It is interesting to discover that it wasn’t until after Adam and Eve partook of the fruit from the tree that they began to notice things about each other, and themselves, that they hadn’t noticed before. They saw their bodies differently and sewed fig leaves together to cover their nakedness. When Gene finally realized that Finny felt as if he was “an extension of himself” (171), it was grievously too late for it to make a difference. It did leave a lasting impression on Gene; one that would haunt him the rest of his life.
The allusion of the ‘fall from grace’ Finny took from ‘his’ tree really took its toll on Gene. Even though they had known each other long enough to become friends, there was still a twinge of jealousy in Gene’s heart because Finny was such a better athlete than he was. There would not have been such jealousy had they not been good friends. If they didn’t know one another there would have not been any reason, other than sports achievement, to drive Gene’s fervor to beat him. It was because they were so close that the jealousy overtook him and he shook the branch in the tree causing Finny’s fall.
The Bible states in Genesis 2:23 that Adam called Eve “Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” This made them one. Adam thought of Eve as an extension of himself. Of all the fruit and vegetables in the Garden and even other trees bearing fruit, it was this one tree that caused them a life time of torment. One has to ask why God put the tree there in the first place, but when you realize the relationship God had with Adam, it is easy to know why God trusted him. The severity of the punishment for disobeying is directly related to the closeness of their relationship. The tree was good, and will “make you gods” (3:5) was the temptation of the serpent. The allusion in this segment of the Bible illustrates the one thing that has plagued mankind down through the annals of time: always wanting what they cannot have.
Gene was not much different in respect to wanting something that was not his: Finny’s athletic ability. Try as he may, he could not muster the strength and agility of Finny and the treachery of his heart got the better of him. After roaming the grounds on the campus experiencing things differently than before, due to the accident, Gene finds himself appeasing Finny’s torment of the thought that Gene hated him.
He was unsure if it was this hatred that caused Gene to shake the tree causing him to fall. Gene assures his injured friend that nothing could be further from the truth. He described the act as being motivated by some strange, unexplainable thing that overcame him and it had nothing to do with animosity or hatred towards him. Finny accepted that and they made amends.
In the allusion of the tree of knowledge and the consequences for their actions, Adam and Eve lose something they would never be able to regain. God had told them that if they ever ate of the tree of knowledge they would die. However, believing the serpent, and wanting to be like God, they partook and then they suffered the consequences of being expelled from the Garden of Eden.
Ironically there was an angel set to guard the entrance to the Garden (3;24) with a “flaming sword turning every which way to guard the way of the tree of life.” They lost paradise. They lost an existence with God they would never be able to regain, and also now had to deal with good and evil and try to learn the difference between the two.
After the summer had passed, things changed between Gene and Finny. The relationship of earlier times was forgotten or damaged beyond repair. The two boys who grew up together and enjoyed so much of life’s pleasures had now grown distant which made them face the reality that all things come to an end. Just as the event in the Garden of Eden changed Adam and Eve’s destiny forever, so did Finny’s fall from the tree as it marked the end of one era for Gene and the beginning of another. Adam and Eve were left to fend for themselves after their expulsion from the Garden much like Gene was left with facing a life of adulthood filled with disillusionment.
The Holy Bible. The Syndics of the Cambridge University Press, Bentley House, London, n.d.
Knowles, John. A Separate Peace. Simon and Schuster, Scribner 2003.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 19 March 2017