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Why is the "suicide" part of "Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session" appropriate?

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xo12345 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 21, 2009 at 11:43 AM via web

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Why is the "suicide" part of "Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session" appropriate?

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 21, 2009 at 5:28 PM (Answer #1)

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The Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session is the name that Gene and Finny create together in the course of jumping from the tall tree by the river, an activity that Gene deeply fears and detests:

Rigid, I began climbing the rungs, slightly reassured by having Finny right behind me. "We'll jump together to cement our partnership," [Finny] said. "We'll form a suicide society, and the membership requirement is one jump out of this tree."

"A suicide society," I said stiffly. "The Suicide Society of the Summer Session."

"Good! The Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session! How's that?"

"That's fine, that's okay."

This exchange reveals a lot about each boy. Finny uses the word "suicide" lightly; he fears nothing about what they are doing, welcoming the challenge. Gene, however, is petrified with fear. His body is rigid and he takes no joy in the cleverness of the title they have come up with. For Gene, climbing the tree and jumping from it does seem like an act of suicide. The first time he had jumped from the tree, Gene had done so "[w]ith the sensation that [he] was throwing [his] life away."

 

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