Later Gene finds out that Finny says this because now he can’t enlist do to his leg. Finny then starts to train Gene for the 1944 Olympics since he can no longer go. Realizing there won’t be a 1944 Olympics, They create their own. This whole time they were oblivious to the war, believing that it was false and that big old guys were making all this stuff up. If something happened in the war they would say that it was them, they’re just playing tricks.
Finny's leg is shattered, preventing him from playing any sports, but Finny refuses to believe that Gene could have done this, even though Gene confesses. When Finny returns to school, he wants to develop Gene into a good athlete for the 1944 Olympics. As one of the many examples of opposing elements contrasted with each other, Gene tells Finny that sports are not important because of the war, which Finny refuses to believe. A while later, some boys from the prep school take Gene and Finny to a big assembly room, where they want to clear up the matter of Finny's broken leg. Gene realizes that he is being put on trial, Finny refuses to answer any questions because he trusts his friend, Finny leaves the room agitated, slips on the stairs, and breaks the same leg again.
While there he remembers the incident that changed his life. In the summer of 1942, Gene and his friends stayed at their prep school for the summer session. His best friend in those days was a boy named Phineas, or Finny. During that time World War II was going on and the sixteen-year old boys were trying to preserve the peace in their lives, before they would be old enough to be drafted into the war-just one year later. One day Finny, the best athlete in the school, came up with the crazy idea to jump out of a tree into a river.
Both Neil and Phineas knew that if they were caught they’d be in trouble, but this did not stop them. In both stories, these characters passions are taking away from them and they respond in similar ways. When Phineas broke his leg, he could no longer play sports. Playing sports was his passion and since he could no longer play, he told Gene “…if I can’t play sports, you’re going to play them for me…” (page 85). Neil loved acting, but his father wanted him to go to medical school to be a doctor.
When a friend "returns" from the war, the boys at Devon got a real sense of what the war was like. The boys learned that going to war was not all fun and games like they had anticipated. The influence World War II had on the characters in A Separate Peace and on life at the Devon School was clearly depicted through their actions and activities. The beginning of the novel allows the reader to get a feel of what the Devon School was like during that time period. Students of "war age" were constantly leaving Devon to go to the war, either by choice or by draft.
A few boys are ready to enlist, and some do not even consider it. Phineas says he does not even believe there is a war at all, and he partly convinces Gene of this idea as well. The war doesn’t hit any of them until Leper, the first to enlist, goes to war and comes back a complete mess. Although not children, they are not quite adults, and they share a rare time of carefree play that is completely isolated from the war. These young boys are separate from the reality of the world while they continue their studies just as they had always done, with the only difference being an extra school session in the summer.
Fitzgerald did not do well on the entrance exams though, so he had to travel to Princeton to re-take the tests and have a personal interview. Supposedly, Fitzgerald convinced the admissions office that it would be cruel to deny him on his birthday and he began at Princeton in the fall of 1913. Fitzgerald desired to play freshman football but his career was cut short. Depending on who you ask, he either wrenched his knee and was unable to play or was cut from the squad on the first day of practice (Tate, 200). With football out of the picture, he chose to participate in the Triangle Club, an original musical comedy group, and the Princeton Tiger, a humor magazine.
World War II broke out when he was just 16 years old, and at the age of 20, Vonnegut joined the US army. Speaking about his disdain for war, Novels for Students discloses, “After Pearl Harbor, however, Vonnegut put aside his reservations about the war and joined the U.S. Army in January, 1943” (259). It was this chapter of Vonnegut’s life that Slaughterhouse-Five is modeled after. The events that took place on the battlefield that Vonnegut experienced are parallel to much of Pilgrim’s experiences. During the historic Battle of the Bulge, Vonnegut and his troop were captured and held as prisoners by Germans (Novels 259).
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.
A Separate Peace by John Knowles A Separate Peace was written by John Knowles in 1959 when he was 33. it is ser in a New Hampshire prep school during WWII. A few teens at this school are greatly affected by the war. Many adults are asking them to join the armed forces. Gene, the main character, trains with his once athletic star friend, Finny, for the Olympics. Although against the war many people request that he join.