Gene Forrester's inner conflict is evident when he returns to Devon School, where his first battles began. For he realizes that his private evil is the same evil that begins wars and he was on "active duty" all the time he was at school.
Because it seemed clear that wars were not made by generations and their special stupidities, but that wars were made instead by something ignorant in the human heart.
While Gene was a student, the "something ignorant" in his heart manufactured a rivalry between Finny and himself, and he imagined that Finny was envious of his academic achievements and, therefore, tried to prevent Gene from succeeding. But, Finny never harbored such feelings. Instead, Phineas was the most ingenuous of all the boys with a blithe spirit that delighted in new challenges; he knew no envy. But Gene misinterpreted many of Finny's motives and the "something ignorant" in his heart moved him to jounce the limb on which Finny, who possessed only a simple joy in living, was standing.