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A Separate Peace, vocabulary and review questions for chapter 3
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Chapter Three Questions and Vocabulary – A Separate Peace
I. Vocabulary: Define the following terms, found in chapter one.
a) entrenched b) venerable c) catacombed d) perilous e) haphazard f) dictates g) inevitably h) cordial i) insidious j) blitzkrieg k) inebriating l) suppleness
II. Questions for Review: Answer in complete sentences. You should use references from the text to support each answer.
- Gene says that Finny often created rules “without notice.” Give an example of this, and why you think Phineas would do it.
- Why does Gene dislike the club so much? Why does he keep going along with everything Finny asks him to do, even when he never wants to do it?
- Why do you think Finny felt that “nothing bad ever happened in sports; they were absolute good” (p. 25)? Why is he so outraged over the school’s inclusion of badminton in the sports schedule?
- How is the game of Blitzball a metaphor for the way Finny lives his life?
- Compare/contrast Gene’s explanation of wartime America to modern-day America.
- Why do you think Finny didn’t want his record-breaking incident to be published?
- During their trip to the beach, why do you think Phineas goes out of his way to make Gene feel good about himself? Give examples with your explanation.
- Why was it courageous for Finny to admit that Gene is his best friend? Why doesn’t Gene say it back?
For the teacher: Suggestions on Student Answers to Review Questions.NOTE: These are simply a guideline; individual student answers will vary.
- Finny wants to make his own rules instead of living by the rules of others. He enjoys being in control, taking the lead, etc. He does this with Blitzball, with the school rules/dress code, the trips to the beach, etc.
- Gene doesn’t like it when Finny is in charge. He feels like he’s always in Finny’s shadow, and like he will never live up to Finny’s reputation. He goes to the meetings, though, because if Finny wasn’t his best friend he would lose his identity.
- Overall, Finny has a positive outlook on life. He likes sports because they are recreational, fun, and they have clear rules. He likes the aspect of sportsmanship, the element of leadership on a team, the camaraderie. He feels badminton takes away most of that, and also that there isn’t as much physical skill involved because it’s not a contact sport like the ones he normally plays.
- He makes up the rules, and he is completely in charge while others are at his mercy. He gets to show off his best skills and outshine the other guys, while exercising his creative juices.
- They can make a lot of different comparisons; wastefulness today vs. preservation then, today’s commercialism vs. their patriotism, etc.
- Opinions will vary. It could be that he just wants Gene to think he’s that much cooler for not publishing his achievement; it could be that he is afraid he won’t be able to repeat it in front of real judges, etc.
- Deep down, it seems that Finny really does want to be a good friend to Gene. He also probably knows that he needs to keep Gene around; without Gene, Finny doesn’t shine or stand out as much.
- The Devon School is an all-boys’ establishment during a time when “men didn’t cry.” To show emotion was to be too feminine in a time when men had to be strong and defend the nation. Gene is either too ashamed to be as brave as Finny, or he has begun to realize that his resentment of Phineas overshadows his friendship.
About this Document
This is a set of vocabulary terms and questions for review/discussion from chapter 3 of A Separate Peace.