Is the Human Nature Good or Evil?

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Updated: Jan 01, 2020
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Is the Human Nature Good or Evil? essay

The inquiry of whether not human beings are naturally born good or evil has been contested in the phycological community for centuries. A Separate Peace by John Knowles reveals the narrative of Gene Forrester and his time at the Devon School in New England during World War II. The novel is told in the perspective of Gene as an adult, looking back at the most impactful years of his life. During the novel, a sense of unreliability becomes evident. Gene soon represents the loss of individual identity and denial. He portrays abnormal and unusual ways of thinking and expressing emotions, in spite of the fact that the spectrum of human behavior conveys logical emotions that connect with most people. The general attributes of human beings cannot specifically be related to Gene’s decisions and behavior, with reason being that he is facing a problematic and obscure time of his life. He is also experiencing those facets of life in a time period where the world is full of tension and conflict. Although the unfavorable sector of human nature is exposed throughout the narration, psychology proves that the general nature of human beings is righteous and justifiable. The nature of human beings is inherently not immoral due to psychological, biological, and sociological evident theories.

Gene Forrester displays distinct emotions and feelings such as envy, jealousy, refusal, denial, and fear during the novel. Characteristically speaking, those emotions are generally laid out in a negative connotation. Granting this information, it can be assumed that the average teenager often experiences all of these particular emotions. In Gene’s case, he approaches these emotions on massed occasions which can deviate him from the standard behavior of a teenager. The particular amount that he experiences these emotions can connect to the symptoms associating with having a personality disorder, which is a mental disorder that causes people to experience an abnormal way of reasoning and functioning. Gene presents symptoms of dealing or having a Cluster B or C personality disorder which are “characterized by dramatic, overly emotional or unpredictable thinking or behavior [and] characterized by anxious, fearful thinking or behavior” (Mayo Clinic). The descriptions of dramatic and fearful thinking are precedent on page 53 in A Separate Peace, “Then a realization broke as clearly and bleakly as dawn at the beach. Finny had deliberately set out to wreck my studies.” The indicated quotation pursues an era of the feature in which Gene is beginning to question his relationships with friends and becomes overly suspicious towards their intentions.

To recall, Gene is taking on an important developing phase of life and as he is displaying symptoms of having a personality disorder, it can make the journey of self discovery more problematic. After noticing the coming of age experience for the average person, the realization can comprehensively be that once a person discovers themself, they can identify personal matters and eventually grow into a better, more improved human being. For example, upon customary human behavior, one usually experiences proper levels of feelings and emotions. For instance, ambition, confidence and sociability. In the case of having a personality disorder, ambition may turn to indulgence, confidence will seemingly turn into pretension and sociability can turn to selfish and attention-seeking behavior. All things considered, the majority of the populations settlements and bearings can be examined as decent and upstanding. Throughout the continuation of A Separate Peace, on no account does Gene refer to any signals of dealing with significant stressors or traumas prior to attending the Devon School. When there is no incorporation of his childhood or adolescence, it is not practical for one to presume that Gene’s behavior and decision making is triggered by trauma and stress from previous relationships or events. Ultimately, one cannot form a complete judgement of whether the nature of human beings is inherently moral or evil without encompassing biological factors into the dispute.

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Is the Human Nature Good or Evil?. (2020, Jan 01). Retrieved from