- Gene, on his weakness: "He [Finny] had never been jealous of me for a second. Now I knew that there never was and never could have been any rivalry between us. I was not of the same quality as he" (51).
- Gene, on Finny's strength: "He possessed an extra vigor, a heightened confidence in himself, a serene capacity for affection which saved him. Nothing as he was growing up at home, nothing at Devon, nothing even about the war had broken his harmonious and natural unity. So at last I had" (194-195).
- Gene, on the desire to be Finny: "I lost part of myself to him then, and a soaring sense of freedom revealed that this must have been my purpose from the first: to become a part of Phineas" (77).
- Leper, on the need to change: "Now I see what racing skiing is all about. It's all right to miss seeing the trees and the countryside and all the other things when you've got to be in a hurry. And when you're in a war you've got to be in a hurry. Don't you? So I guess maybe racing skiers weren't ruining the sport after all. They were preparing it, if you see what I mean, for the future. Everything has to evolve or else it perishes. . . I'm almost glad this war came along. It's like a test, isn't it, and only the things and the people who've been evolving the right way survive" (116-117).
- Gene, on the war activities around Devon: "Stranded in this mill town railroad yard while the whole world was converging elsewhere, we seemed to be nothing but children playing among heroic men" (89).
- Gene, on personality: "You had to be rude at least sometimes and edgy often to be credited with 'personality,' and without that accolade no one at Devon could be anyone. No one, with the exception of course of Phineas" (124).
- Finny, on his trust in Gene: "Naturally I don't believe books and I don't believe teachers, but I do believe-it's important for me to believe you [Gene]. Christ, I've got to believe you, at least. I know you better than anybody" (154).
- Mr. Hadley on war: "Your war memories will be with you forever, you'll be asked about them thousands of times after the war is over. People will get their respect for you from that-partly from that, don't get me wrong-but if you can say that you were up front where there was some real shooting going on, then that will mean a whole lot to you in years to come" (191).
- Gene, on war: "it seemed clear that wars were not made by generations and their special stupidities, but that wars were made instead by something ignorant in the human heart" (193).
- Gene, on the enemy: "All of them, all except Phineas, constructed at infinite cost to themselves these Maginot Lines against this enemy they thought they saw across the frontier, this enemy who never attacked that way-if he ever attacked at all; if he was indeed the enemy" (196).
A Separate Peace: Top Ten Quotes