In chapter 5 of A Separate Peace, explain why Gene would want to cause Finny harm. Focus on reasons why Gene is jealous and reasons why Gene wants to be Finny. Then, explain why Gene would not want to harm Finny. Focus on the facts that Finny is Gene's best friend and that Gene tries to confess to what he did.

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Although Gene and Finny are friends, it is difficult for Gene to believe that the celebrated athlete is sincere in his affection. Gene, who is more intellectual and introverted, tends to overthink things, while Finny has an open, trusting nature and is less inclined to dwell on the reasons behind...

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Although Gene and Finny are friends, it is difficult for Gene to believe that the celebrated athlete is sincere in his affection. Gene, who is more intellectual and introverted, tends to overthink things, while Finny has an open, trusting nature and is less inclined to dwell on the reasons behind events. Gene has grown up thinking that following the rules is key to getting ahead, and Finny repeatedly shows that this is not the case. Despite flaunting protocol, his naturally winsome personality gets him out of trouble. Gene senses that he jealous of Finny as an individual, but he fails to realize that his resentment is actually toward the flawed system that the other boy represents. For the first time in his life, Gene is up against the idea that his entire worldview is wrong; but this idea is too vast and abstract for him to process.

The notion that flashes through his head when he shakes the tree is more disruptive than malicious. Gene fails to anticipate that Finny will be seriously injured in the fall. When this occurs, he is overcome with guilt and grief. As he realizes that their relationship can never return to its former status, he tries to mend things by confessing. Finny’s refusal or inability to accept this confession only exacerbate Gene’s guilt. Ironically, in trying to bring Finny down a peg, Gene has helped the other boy become an even better person, and Gene will always struggle to reach that standard of goodness.

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