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A Separate Peace, vocabulary and questions for review, chapter 2
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Chapter Two Questions and Vocabulary – A Separate Peace
I. Vocabulary: Define the following terms, found in chapter one.
a) suitors b) emblem c) inane d) prow e) guillotine
II. Questions for Review: Answer in complete sentences. You should use references from the text to support each answer.
- What is the motivation behind all of Finny’s appeals to the teachers? Why does he work so hard to convince them that breaking the rules is okay?
- How does Finny succeed in winning over the teachers every time?
- What is different about the summer session (as opposed to the regular school sessions)? What is the reason for this difference?
- Why does Gene tell Phineas that the pink shirt will make him look like a fairy? What do you think of Finny’s response?
- Do you agree with Gene’s statement, “There was no harm in envying even your best friend a little,” (p. 25)? What about when he says, “That was because I just wanted to see some excitement; that must have been it” on p. 28? What have you learned about the friendship between the boys, as a result of these two statements?
- Why is Gene excited on p. 27 when he thinks Phineas will get into trouble for wearing a tie as a belt?
- Why does Gene think that “sarcasm [is] the protest of people who are weak” (p. 29)? Do you agree – why or why not?
- Gene says, “The people in the world who could be selfish in the summer of 1942 were a small band, and I’m glad we took advantage of it” (p. 30). What is he talking about here?
- Why would Gene and Phineas call their club a Suicide Society?
For the teacher: Suggestions on Student Answers to Review Questions. NOTE: These are simply a guideline; individual student answers will vary.
- Finny wants the teachers to treat him as an equal; he wants them to be friendly toward him, and not to feel like he’s under their authority.
- He has charm, wit, and a ready-made excuse for everything. His answers are always smart as well as entertaining, and they can hardly discipline him because they’re so busy laughing at him or shaking their heads in disbelief.
- The teachers are less strict during the summer; they see the boys as the embodiment of peace which has become a rare commodity in the world at that time.
- He is calling him homosexual. Finny laughs it off, which is unusual for a man to do when his sexuality is questioned.
- They may agree or disagree, but they should see the resentment brewing in Gene.
- He wants to believe that even Finny isn’t perfect, or above the law. He is jealous of Finny’s ability to get out of everything.
- Opinions will vary.
- The rest of the world was worried about war, and rationing, and the good of the cause, etc. and couldn’t worry about selfish pursuits.
- This question asks students to speculate/infer, so answers will probably vary. It could be that they are defying death in their jumps from the tree, or that they are defying death in their last year before the draft/adulthood.
About this Document
This is a set of vocabulary terms and review questions for chapter 2 of A Separate Peace.