Finny returns to Devon and quickly demonstrates that his personality hasn't been impacted at all by his injury. He is energetic, irreverant, and full of conversation about everything that interests him. "Then he began to talk; he never went to sleep without talking first...He was still talking when I fell asleep."
Brinker, always the politician angling to find a way to make life better for himself and suspicious of others who might get in the way of his efforts, loves to read into every situation any complications that might be present. He jumps to conclusions in order to find these circumstances and enjoys the power he thinks he gains when commenting on them.
So," Brinker curled his lip at me, "your little plot didn't work so well after all."...I stood trembling in front of Phineas, still holding his crutches in place, unable to turn and face Brinker and this joke he had gotten into his head, this catastrophic joke.
Leper moved in his own world, uncaring of what the others did or thought. He responded to the needs and causes that interested him without concern about what the rest of the students thought of him or his actions. His decision to enlist was "another of Leper's vagaries" - one of his eccentric decisions, just like sleeping on Mount Katahdin so he could be "the first thing the rising sun struck in the United States."
Chet was easy to overlook because he had no outstanding traits that marked him as being unique. He was an expert at playing the trumpet and tennis, but he was not interested in showing off his abilities. "He had an underlying obliging and considerate strain which barred him from being a really important member of the class."
Gene, during these two chapters, succeeds in burying the guilt he carries about the accident and revels in the surprising realization that Finny needs him and that he is grateful for that treasured and priceless friendship. In the back of his mind, Gene understands that a day of reckoning will come regarding his role in Finny's fall, but at this point in the story, all is going relatively smoothly.
So the war swept over like a wave at the seashore, gathering power and size as it bore on us, overwhelming in its rush, seemingly inescapable, and then at the last moment eluded by a word from Phineas;...I did not stop to think that one wave is inevitably followed by another even larger and more powerful, when the tide is coming in.