How does war impact/change the lives of Brinker and Finny?I am having trouble with my essay. I am having trouble figuring out 3 main points for both Brinker and Finny. Can someone help me out?...

How does war impact/change the lives of Brinker and Finny?

I am having trouble with my essay. I am having trouble figuring out 3 main points for both Brinker and Finny. Can someone help me out?

Finny...denial in war..(that is all i have)

Brinker...developed a name for the game finny made up...Blitzball (attack of the nazi)

Also, I do not understand where Brinker wrote poems about the war and the part where his father rejected his idea...@_@ Can someone help me?? Thanks.

Expert Answers
scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One point that you can stress is that Brinker and Finny both come to realize that war is not so glorious or heroic as they try to portray it to their classmates.  Finny wants desperately to join the war effort because for him it represents competition and adventure, but he also wants to do something that is worthwhile.  He never overtly says this, but Finny knows that all of the activities he invents to keep himself busy and to produce competition are his way of trying to make himself memorable and to challenge himself.  At first, he sees war as just another way of challenging himself.

Brinker initially has a similar attitude toward the war.  He measures the worth of other characters by how he thinks they might do in the war effort.  He mocks Leper's decision to enlist not simply because of Leper's weak nature, but also because he himself does not have the courage to voluntarily sign up.  He knows that the war will challenge him, and his is genuinely afraid (this is a difference between Finny and Brinker--Finny is not afraid).

Near the end, both Brinker and Finny come to see the war as "someone else's" way of using the younger generation for their benefit.  Finny makes comments about the fat and foolish old men behind the scenes of the war.  Likewise, in the book's last chapter, Gene witnesses an argument between Brinker and his father about Brinker's choosing the Coast Guard. Gene observes,

"I had heard this generation-complaint from Brinker before, so often that I finally identified this as the source of his disillusionment during the winter, this generalized faintly self-pitying resentment toward millions of people [those 'causing' the war] he did not know. . . . In a way this was Finny's view [of the war], except that naturally he saw it comically, as a huge and intensely practical joke, played by fat and foolish old men bungling away behind the scenes" (201).

One point you can make is how the boys view the war before they mature.  A second point is how they view it after their maturation, and finally, discuss how their change in view affects their relationships with other people.

It is easy for the boys to be excited about the war during their first summer at Devon because the reality of war is still too far removed from them.  But, as they grow closer to the time when they will be drafted or need to enlist, their excitement wains.  The reality of Leper's abandonment, Finny's injuries, and Gene's betrayal force the boys to mature and to view the struggles of life (not just a literal war) as they really are.

The answer to your last question is in the last chapter.  In most versions of the text, the conversation between Brinker and his father occurs on the last three or four pages of the book.

Good luck!

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A Separate Peace

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