In John Knowles's A Separate Peace, what is the significance of the name of Finny and Gene's club, "Super Suicide Society"? Did the author purposefully give the club that name because of a later...

In John Knowles's A Separate Peace, what is the significance of the name of Finny and Gene's club, "Super Suicide Society"? Did the author purposefully give the club that name because of a later event? Does the name have a deeper meaning to it?

2 Answers | Add Yours

tinicraw's profile pic

tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The name of the club--Super Suicide Society--certainly seems to be one that hints of foreshadowing due to the fact that Finny dies at the end of the book due to an injury he sustained while participating in it. There's a little bit of situational irony in the fact as well. For the most part, however, and since Finny did not commit suicide, the name of the club mostly represents the idea of tempting death as young kids who feel indestructible. The name challenges the boys to test their manhood in a way because if they don't die in the process of jumping from the tree, then they can be claimed as over and beyond death (which another theme of the book).

Sources:
sciftw's profile pic

sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

To answer a part of your question, yes, author John Knowles intentionally named the club what he named it. He is the author of the book, and writers are typically quite intentional about the names that they give things in their stories.

The more difficult part of the question asks about why Knowles picked that name. Was it meant to be significant for a later event in the book? I think yes. I think that the name of the club directly foreshadows the death of Finny. Finny's death is not a result of suicide, but he still dies. The club's name definitely has an emphasis on death. Had Finny and Gene not been in that tree, they would not have thought about jumping. No jumping, no club. No club, no club title. No club title and no jumping means that Finny never would have broken his leg. That broken leg eventually led to his death, so in a way the Super Suicide Society caused Finny's death. I do believe that Knowles meant for the club name to be intentionally foreboding.

Sources:

We’ve answered 320,053 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question