In the beginning of the book, Gene’s relationship with Finny was a simple friendship but with some undertones of envy and hatred. To Finny, Gene is his best friend who he could trust with his life. Gene, on the other hand, does not feel the same way about the friendship as Finny. Gene both loves and hates Finny, he sees Finny as both a friend and an enemy. Finny is self-assured, friendly, and the best athlete in school; he is everything Gene is not. He tells Finny he is “too good to be true.” Gene is happy for him, but then he grows a little suspicious by questioning himself whether or not Phineas broke the record just to be better than him or to impress him. John Knowles hints a sign of this hatred through a simple thought when Gene thinks to himself, “Naturally Finny was going to be the first to try, and just as naturally he was going to inveigle others, us, into trying it with him.” (15). This reveals a clue that Gene sees Finny as a leader who is always in charge; Gene is a little jealous and believed that he thought too highly of him. Well ahead in the book, Gene develops the idea that Finny is out to get him. John Knowles points out this idea from Gene by revealing Gene’s internal thoughts when he said to himself, “I found ...
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... that Finny made for him that no one did. Even though Finny’s not physically there with him, his spirit remains in Gene’s heart. Finny isn’t gone from his life because Finny was a part of him and always will be. Finny’s death causes Gene to find himself because is no longer weighed down by feelings of envy and hatred. Knowles concludes Gene’s thoughts when he says, “I never killed anybody and I never developed an intense level of hatred for the enemy. Because my war ended before I ever put on a uniform; I was on active duty all my time at school; I killed my enemy there. Only Phineas never was afraid, only Phineas never hated anyone.”(204) Gene realizes that his only enemy is himself and the wicked thoughts of the heart and mindset. He doesn’t have to fret anymore because he is finally able to move past all this and become what Finny wanted him to be, a part of him.
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