In A Separate Peace how does Finny react when Gene says he needs to study?  Is Gene relieved to find out Finny isn't guilty of treachery?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Gene finally does put his foot down and try to resist Finny's efforts to go play so that he can study, Finny does not behave like a kid who is trying to purposely underimine his studies.  Instead, he is surprised.  Finny says,

"I didn't know you needed to study...I thought it just came to you...why didn't you say you had to study before?  Don't move from that desk.  It's going to be all A's for you."

This reaction totally shocks Gene, because it shows quite clearly that Finny is not competing with Gene, is not purposefully subverting his studies, but just innocently thought that Gene was a natural genius.  This reveals that Finny is, after all, just a good guy who loves spending time with Gene.  Instead of being relieved, Gene is upset, because that fact just points out how stupid and petty he had been, which makes him look like a jerk.  He thinks to himself, "I was not of the same quality as he. I  couldn't stand this."  Now, he was even more jealous of Finny, and more hateful, because Finny was just such a stellar guy, and it made him look like crud in comparison.

I hope that those thoughts helped; good luck!

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A Separate Peace

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