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What does the First Academy Building symbolize?

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What does the First Academy Building symbolize?

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The First Academy Building in A Separate Peace contains the marble stairs that Gene revisits at the beginning of the novel and the stairs that Finny fell down at the end of the novel.  The building suggests the conservative, New England nature of Devgon School.  It also is a place of significance for Gene, as his life (and Finny's) were forever changed in this building.

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