I have a couple of questions in the book "A Separate Peace"1) The narrator alludes to war. How is the war important to both students and faculty?2) Finny "gets away with" two...

I have a couple of questions in the book "A Separate Peace"

1) The narrator alludes to war. How is the war important to both students and faculty?
2) Finny "gets away with" two rebellious acts. What are they?
3) Explain how Gene feels about Finny's ability to get way with things?
4) Why does Gene think that Funny practically saved his life?

Expert Answers
dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

War permeates all aspects of existence in this story.  As Gene says, "the war was and is reality for me...I still instinctively live and think in its atmosphere".  The boys at Devon are either about to be called up to fight or will be in a few short years; since most of the young faculty are involved with the war in some capacity, classes are taught by substitutes, who are generally much older.  Although it is not necessarily recognized, existence at Devon is characterized by fear, because of the war (Ch.1).

Finny "gets away with" missing dinner, and when he is called to task for his infraction, explains that the boys felt they had to jump out of the tree by the river, which is in itself an even worse transgression.  Later, he "gets away" with wearing the Devon uniform tie as a belt (Ch.2).

Gene has conflicting feelings about Finny's ability to "get away with anything".  He becomes "unexpectedly excited when he thinks Finny may finally have to pay the consequences of his actions, then feels "a sudden stab of disappointment" when he does not.  Basically, Gene looks at Finny's propensity to "get away" with things with a sense of amazement, and a little envy (Ch.2)

When Gene is up in the tree ready to jump, he momentarily loses his balance, but Finny grabs his arm and steadies him.  Gene reflects that if he had fallen he might have been killed; "Finny had practically saved (his) life" (Ch.2).  Upon further reflection, however, Gene realizes that if it hadn't been for Finny, he wouldn't have been up in the tree in the first place (Ch.3).

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A Separate Peace

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