The summer session at Devon embodies the last days of freedom the boys have before the War hits home in a hard way. During the summer, the teachers are intentionally lax on the discipline of the boys, and the boys enjoy extra free time around their classes. Meetings of the Summer Suicide Society, games of Blitzball, and trips to the beach all demonstrate this free spiritedness. Finny's ability to get out of any trouble also enables this attitude.
During the fall, structure and discipline return to Devon along with the rest of the student body. The chapel services are more serious, the rules are enforced strictly, and wartime activities take up free time. The boys shovel snow on the tracks and talk about enlisting; Leper runs off to enlist with the ski patrol. Also, Finny's absence takes away some of the carefree attitude of the summer. When he returns, his injury continues to dampen the spirits of the boys. Fall is the time when they begin to grow up and to face the real world that they spent the summer avoiding.