How did Gene deal with his friendship with Finny after the accident?

How did Gene deal with his friendship with Finny after the accident?


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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gene is a complex guy. He's great friends with Finny, but he's also really jealous of how everything just seems to fall in place for Finny. Gene works hard at school and sports, yet Finny often does better than him with seemingly less effort. After Finny's fall, Gene is partly glad that the playing field is a bit more level; however, Gene also feels guilty about having caused the accident, and he feels guilty that a small part of him is/was glad about it.  

Gene's guilt manifests itself in a couple of different behaviors. One behavior is that Gene tries to honor Finny's athletic desires by letting Finny train him. Gene partially feels as if he can work away his guilt by succeeding in helping Finny obtain his Olympic dream in one way or another. Another behavior of Gene's is the one that I appreciate the most. Gene attempts to tell his friend the truth. Gene feels terribly guilty about the accident, and he wants to come clean about it. Unfortunately, Finny is incapable of considering that people might not always have completely good intentions toward other people. Finny flat out denies Gene's confession, which then forces Gene to begin lying to himself and others about his role on the tree branch. Part of that lie is Gene's continued efforts to make it appear that he and Finny are every bit the great friends that they once were. Eventually the lies and suspicions begin to pile up, and they come to a head at Gene's mock trial. The trial isn't successful at solving any friendship problems among the boys.

missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gene became dishonest. He made an attempt to tell Finny the truth about what had happened, but with Finny's cool character, Finny wouldn't accept Gene's words. Gene allowed that to happen and continued their relationship knowing Finny had no concept of the truth.

Gene became very defensive on behalf of Finny and demonstrated feeling guilt. Gene seemed to admire Finny greatly in the very beginning of the book, grew jealousy just before the incident in the tree, and after the incident when Finny returned to school tried to help and cater to Finny's needs. He skipped school with Finny when he didn't really want to, he babied Finny about his leg by refusing to talk about it.

mkcapen1 | Student

After the accident Gene had a lot of feelings of guilt, but he also began to lie to cover his tracks,although he had initially tried to be honest with Finny. 

Gene threw himself into the sports that Finny wanted him to participate in doing.  He also tried to make it up to Finny by being close by him and becoming his protector.  He was very apprehensive and then angry when Leper confronted him with the actions of the day of the accident and he responded by kicking the chair out from under him.

I would say that he was very paranoid of being outed.


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A Separate Peace

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