Gene Forrestor is the main protagonist in this truly tragic novel, being complex and constantly ravaged with change. The story begins with Gene being young, innocent, and ambitious, without any misgivings for his actions or paranoia for his past. However, as young Forrestor advances through the end of his high school life he is damaged by contact to a brutality, a force that introduces pain, misery, and death. This force could be none other than the war. The war brings many things into Gene’s life, such as an ambition that drives him to be better than all of the “rich students” who attend. Unlike Brinker or Leper, Gene has no important background to rely on, and must utilize his own talents to create a future for himself. Of course, the boy refuses to divulge his origin to anyone…”anyone” who could use it against him and discriminate. In his eyes this could be any person around him, even his best friend Phineas, because if he doesn’t trust anyone else, how could they trust him?
Gene Forrestor is merely a boy with no regal background, looking for a purpose and a friend without the correct ambition to earn one. He has trust, but simply chooses not to use it in the chance he will be betrayed. This complex teenager indeed finds a separate peace, though not through his quiet ambition but by the reckless brutality inside him, the boy destined for greatness but understood as insignificant and weak.