A Separate Peace; Chapter Summaries Chapter 1: The narrator (Gene) returns to the Devon School in New Hampshire, that he graduated from 15 years earlier. He goes to a certain tree and switches back to the past. Phineas dares everyone to jump from a branch in the tree into the river. Phineas, and Gene both jump. On the way back Phineas and Gene play fight so that they are late for dinner.
Phineas is the best friend of Gene . In chapter four of the novel Gene pushes Finny out of a tree and Finny breaks his leg. Subconsciously, Finny knows how the accident occurred but is the type of person who wants to believe that all of life is carefree, he hates to acknowledge that a person could actually hurt another. We see a great deal of this attitude when Finny constantly refers to WWII as something created by old fat men in order to keep young boys from having to much fun. After the accident at the tree Gene attempts to tell Finny that it was him who caused the accident, but Finny refuses to believe Gene.
Finny saves Genes life when Gene turns to look at Finny on the tree and loses his balance, he was about to fall when Finny put his arm out to rebalance Gene. Gene later realized that Finny might have saved his life but he would not have been on that “damn limb”(25) if it was not for Finny. Gene was forced to jump off the tree by finny so he could have died because of Finny which shows his discontent with him. Another activity that shows Genes resentment is while playing blitzball.
So he tried to cut the tree down. It took along time; Billy's Grandpa made a dummy so Billy can go home and rest. The purpose of the dummy was to make the coon think that a person was standing there. So the coon would stay up on the tree for several days before he finds out that the dummy is fake. When Billy went back to the tree he started cutting and cutting, but the tree was too big and thick to cut down.
After a while the two made it an almost day-to-day activity. The two boys were a lot alike, but Gene had this underlying resentment of Finny and he felt that Finny was deliberately trying to make him do badly in school because he was constantly dragging Gene along with him to go jump out of the tree. One time Finny decided that he and Gene should do a double jump, since that had never been done before. While up on the limb, Finny is the further out then Gene, and Gene gets this sudden impulse to shake the limb, which sends Finny plummeting into the shallow part of the river, breaking his leg. After the accident, Finny could never play any sports again; merely being able to walk is a blessing.
Before each meeting, Finny and Gene jump from the tree that overlooks the river. Prior to one meeting, both climb the tree to begin the meeting; when they make it to the top of the tree, Gene takes the opportunity to wiggle the branch. As a result, Finny falls, which ends Finny’s athleticism and changes his life. Gene’s guilt leads him to lie multiple times to cover his spiteful endeavor. His guiltiness causes him to confess to Phineas.
The first one is the marble staircase which shows little sign of wear over the years. And the second one is the river where a specific tree is located. At that point, the storyline flashes back to the summer of 1942 where Gene is standing under the tree by the river which looms hugely like a steely black steeple. Gene, Finny, his best friend and his other friends like Leper, Chet, and Bobby were there to have fun. Finny, then, persuaded the other boys to jump off the tree into the river after he jumps.
It almost did not feel to the boys that there was a war going on because they were having so much fun. The t... ... middle of paper ... ... not think of this incidence as a major deal. When Gene went to see Finny, Finny confessed that he was in denial that there was a war going on all along because he wanted to enlist, but could not because of his leg. After Finny went into surgery, his doctor broke the news to Gene that Finny had died. The doctor warned Gene that this was not the last time that he was going to see a close friend die.
He is attending a special Summer Session at Devon, designed to speed up education to prepare the boys for the military draft in their senior year. Gene stands at the same tree with his best friend and roommate, Phineas (nicknamed Finny), and three other boys, Elwin Lepellier (Leper), Chet Douglass, and Bobby Zane. The tree seems enormous to Gene, but Finny suddenly decides to climb it and jump into the river, just like the Devon 17 year olds, who are training for military service. Finny jumps and dares Gene to follow. Against his better judgment, Gene climbs the tree and also jumps, but the three others refuse.
Wanting to jump out of the tree shows the eagerness of younger boys wanting to play their part in the war, like a challenge to prove their manhood. Phineas jumps out of the tree and encourages Gene to do so as well; they are the only ones who jump out of the tree that day and it sparks a bond between them. World War II is an important part of this story because it forces Gene a... ... middle of paper ... ...ree. So much has changed since his childhood, but only now does he have the strength to face what had happened. Perhaps the tree was no longer so massive and menacing because like all obstacles we face in our youth, when returning to it, it always seems a bit silly to have been so competitive, or to have made such a huge deal, or become so emotional over something so small and insignificant in the scheme of things.