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In John Knowles' A Separate Peace, Gene responds to his best friend's admission that he wants to be a part of the war by comforting him. Gene, however, comforts Finny in a way that only a best friend could--by telling him that he'd mess it up anyway! Finny was so afraid of being left out of the war due to his wounded leg and inability to walk without a crutch. Finny never wanted to be left out of anything challenging or adventurous, so the thought of not being able to rise to the occasion forced him to downplay the importance of the war. At times, he'd even tell people that the war probably wasn't even happening! Gene understood Finny's needs and desires to be involved, as well as his desire to be the leader and the best at everything he did. So, Gene told Finny that even if he were not wounded, and he went off to war in full health, he'd mess it up anyway. Gene said that Finny had such an influential character that he'd probably forget who the enemy was because he'd make friends with everyone. True or not, Gene comforts his friend during a time of weakness and proves to have grown up in many ways as opposed to how he acted at the beginning of the book.
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