A Separate Peace by John Knowles

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In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, how does Brinker get Gene and Finny to attend the mock trial? Why is Brinker so determined to investigate the incident?

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Icie Brekke eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It's not enough for Brinker Hadley to believe Gene broke Finny's leg on purpose; he wants someone to say it is a fact. In chapter 7, Brinker and Gene have a conversation at the beginning of the fall semester. During this conversation, Brinker suggests that Gene is basking in his spacious dorm room because he did not plan to have a roommate after Finny broke his leg. Brinker provokes Gene further by saying that the truth hurts. Gene responds with, "The truth will out" (88). These two go to the Butt Room for a smoke, and Gene admits the truth sarcastically to make the others think their assumptions about his role in the incident are ridiculous. Brinker doesn't forget about finding out the truth, however, so he simply waits until the time is right to do it. 

In chapter 11, Gene shares his concerns about Brinker with the following explanation:

I had no idea what Brinker might say or do. Before he had always known and done whatever occurred to him was right. In the world of the Golden Fleece Debating Society and the Underprivileged Local Children subcommittee of the Good Samaritan Confraternity, this had created no problems. But I was afraid of that simple executive directness now (161).

From the above passage, the reader learns that Brinker's personality is that of a debater and a leader. When Brinker thinks he is right, he does something about it. Therefore, if Brinker thinks Gene is responsible for breaking Finny's leg, then he also wants to know for sure that he is right. As a result, Brinker organizes a mock trial to force the truth out. Feeling that Gene and Finny won't go along with his mock...

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heybooo | Student

Brinker strongly believes that Gene pushed Finny out of the tree

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