Why is Finny's fall from the tree ironic in A Separate Peace?

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Finny's fall from the tree is ironic at several levels. First of all, Finny is a gifted athlete so on the basic level, it is ironic that a young man as physically talented as Finny should ever do anything so ungraceful as fall from a jounced tree limb. The second...

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Finny's fall from the tree is ironic at several levels. First of all, Finny is a gifted athlete so on the basic level, it is ironic that a young man as physically talented as Finny should ever do anything so ungraceful as fall from a jounced tree limb. The second level of irony lies within Gene's character. Gene, who is not as athletic and fears the tree, is able to complete a perfect, graceful jump after Finny's fall, illustrating Gene's sense of rivalry with Finny, his best friend. More importantly, it is ironic that one friend gains strength from the other's injury and the tree becomes a metaphor for Gene's failure as a person, his darker side as it is apparent that Gene caused Finny's fall from the tree and metaphorically, from grace.

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There are several.  First, his best friend, Gene, jounces the limb and causes him to fall.  Finny is betrayed by the one person who he trusted implicitly.  Second, as he is about to fall, he has this awkward moment where he loses his balance and falls.  This is ironic because Finny is the best athlete at the school, yet he cannot regain his balance and plummets from the branch. 

The repercussions of the fall are also ironic.  Since it was such a bad break, sports are now out of the question for Finny.  Again this is ironic because he was such a phenomenal athlete and now will never play sports again.

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