A Separate Peace by John Knowles

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What is Brinker's purpose in getting all of the facts from Finny's accident in Chapter 11?

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  • In Chapter 11 of A Separate Peace, Brinker Hadley seeks the facts of the circumstances surrounding Finny's accident because he suspects Gene Forrester of foul play. 

Gene returns to Devon after having visited Leper who has, in his words, "escaped" from the Army because he was going to be given a Section Eight—a discharge because of his mental condition, a discharge that would prevent Leper from being hired. While Gene visits Leper, they walk across the snow-covered fields in Vermont, and Leper opens up to Gene, describing his recent experiences which have forced him to admit much to himself, including the fact, he says, that Gene is not the person he thought him to be. He tells Gene,

"You always were a lord of the manor, weren't you? A swell guy, except when the chips were down. You always were a savage underneath. I always knew that only I never admitted it. But in the last few weeks....I admitted a lot to myself."

When Gene jumps up, enraged, Leper laughs, "Like that time you crippled him for life." Gene kicks over the chair in which Leper is sitting; however, Leper continues to laugh and repeats, "...always were a savage underneath."

Leper is not the only one who suspects Gene of being "a savage." One day while recruiters are at the school, Brinker approaches Gene, telling him to stop pitying Phineas because doing so will harm Finny. He also tells Gene that he knows that he was present when Finny had his accident, "....it wouldn't do you any harm, you know, if everything about Finny's accident was cleared up and forgotten." Gene asks him what he means, but the sly Brinker replies, "I don't know...nobody knows....unless you know."

Later, Gene talks with Finny, who tells Gene he finds that he must believe Gene. And he now admits that there is a real war going on. Shortly after this, Brinker and three supporters come into Gene and Phineas's room, saying "We're taking you out." Gene and...

(The entire section contains 689 words.)

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