By Cary M. Roberts
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Here he is trying again to become Finny or become a part of Finny's world. " We now understand that Gene's aim is to become as much like Finny as possible and that he can only do so by having destroyed a part of Finny's nature, that is, by crippling him. Ironically, however, Gene will begin to discover his own nature now that Finny is wounded and will continue for a long time to "stumble through the confusions" of his own character. When the doctor announces that "sports are finished" for Finny, Gene feels as though the doctor is pronouncing Finny to be dead or at least drastically changed.
In one sense, Gene's and Finny's roles Page 28 in relation to each other will be somewhat reversed. " Previous to this, Gene has never acted instinctively but Finny has always done so. " In terms of the way that Gene has been thinking about Finny, he thinks that his friend was out to destroy him in the same way that Gene attempted to destroy Finny. Thus, we have the simple, but ironic, parallel with the earlier scene where Finny had reached out and saved Gene from falling out of the tree. Gene's desire to become a part of Finny is again suggested when he tells Finny that the accident affects him as though it had happened to him personally.
It is agreed that the act was some sort of blind impulse. Later in the day when the doctor is resetting Finny's leg, some of the marrow gets into the bloodstream and Finny dies instantly. Gene does not cry then or ever about the death of his friend because he feels that he too has died and one doesn't cry over one's own death. Later Gene realizes that the war never meant anything to him because he had fought his own private war and that he had killed his enemy at the school. Page 9 Summaries and Commentaries Chapter 1 Summary The narrator, Gene Forrester, returns to Devon School, where he was a student some fifteen years earlier.
A Separate Peace, Notes by Cary M. Roberts