Gene takes a more serious stance toward school authority and rules than Finny does. Gene perceives school as an opportunity to further himself, and his ability to achieve academically is a point of pride. Gene's connection to academics and his desire to succeed pushes him to be much more of a rule follower than Finny. Gene does not want to do anything that would jeopardize his academic standing.
Finny, on the other hand, is much more relaxed when it comes to school authority and rules. Finny is portrayed as being charming and friendly, "a model boy who was most comfortable in the truant's corner" (16). Finny's predilection for breaking rules occasionally with a "winning urge to be good" gives him enormous appeal to readers. He fearlessly does what so many of us, including Gene, wish we could have done in school--broken the rules and gotten away with it.