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Before Finny tells Gene that he's his "best pal" (48), all we get from Gene is information about his jealousy of Finny that puts both of them in a negative light. Since Gene is telling the story, we see the slanted negative view of Finny. After that, in chapter 4, Gene suddenly realizes that he isn't the only one feeling badly about his status among the group of students. More importantly, the effect that the "best pal" phrase has on Gene is that Finny is a bit jealous, too. This gives Gene a feeling of power and strength; in fact, he states, "I found it. I found a single sustaining thought. The thought was, You and Phineas are even already. You are even in enmity" (53). Sadly, this gives rise to Gene believing that Finny is out to sabatoge his grades; this, effects the agression he acts out on the tree that eventually breaks Finny's leg.
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