A Separate Peace Questions and Answers
by John Knowles

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In the beginning of "A Separate Peace", what kind of person does Gene want to be? Also what is his dual attitude toward Finny?

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Gene wants to be Finny; that's the kind of person that Gene wants to be.  Throughout the book, there are clues that indicate his desire to be more like Finny.  After Finny's accident, Gene is supposed to get some clothes for Finny.  He stands in the room and actually puts Finny's famous pink shirt on.  He is oddly comforted to feel like he is not himself for a while, and to step into Finny's shoes.  He wants Finny's amiable nature, his leadership, his popularity, his ability to get out of anything.  So, Gene wants to be like Finny, even if he won't directly admit it.

This ties directly into his dual attitude towards Finny; on the one hand, he wants to be just like Finny, and on the other hand, he resents Finny for being so liked and capable of getting away...

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